Nigerian Para-Powerlifters Disqualification: The True Story
Two Nigerian Para-Powerlifters, Onyinyechi Gift MARK, and Latifat TIJANI were disqualified at the ongoing Commonwealth Games.
Who was responsible for the decision? SportsIntel.ng 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?