Nigerian Para-Powerlifters Disqualification: The True Story


Nigerian Para-Powerlifters: Wole Opatola Explains

Two Nigerian Para-Powerlifters, Onyinyechi Gift MARK, and Latifat TIJANI were disqualified at the ongoing Commonwealth Games.

Who was responsible for the decision? spoke to a senior sports journalist attending the Commonwealth Games In Birmingham, Wole Opatola and he gave these insights.

Firstly, the Nigerian Para-powerlifters arrived at the venue, NEC centre at 1.55 pm.
That’s OK, they were 5 minutes ahead of the arrival deadline. “Oh no, we are sorry, you are late. You can’t participate”, one of the organizers politely informed the Nigerians. “Is this a joke”? One of the officials replied. “I am afraid, that’s the situation”, and the response brought the Nigerian team back to reality.

Ok let us break it down further:

Competition rules say athletes must arrive no later than one hour before the event time.

Furthermore, the show time for the para-powerlifting was set for 3 pm. So any arrival before 2 pm was deemed legit, or so the Nigerians thought.

Fatal! The organizers had sent out messages to all participating countries that their athletes must arrive latest at 1.45 pm for weigh-in and kits inspection. Meanwhile, the Nigerians arrived at 1.55 pm. 10 minutes difference and our hopes and aspirations went up in smoke.

Reaction: It was a lost cause, but no harm in trying. The Nigerian officials quickly put up a protest. “We did not receive any message, we didn’t get any mail, nothing”, they insisted.

“We sent out the mail to the Nigerian Paralympic Committee”, a stunned official of the games replied, bewildered.

Meanwhile, a back and forth ensued, but alas, nothing.

However, Lateefat Tijani and Onyinyechi Gift, sure medalists, ended up disqualified.

Quick thinking: How come all other countries arrived on time and only Nigeria arrived late?


Wole Opatola
Birmingham, UK.


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