Ghanaian weightlifting duo – Winnifred Ntumi and Forrester Christopher Osei have qualified for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Osei, who campaigns in the men 96kg bodyweight category, clinched gold at the International Open Weightlifting Championships held in Mauritius from February 20-27, last month.
Though the UK-based lifter performed commendably, he had to sit on ‘tenterhooks’ a bit more until last week when the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) emerged with the final rankings that put him through – having also excelled in a couple of international events.
Winnifred was also fortunate to pull through and would now represent the nation in the women 49kg bodyweight category, even though she could not participate in the Mauritius qualifiers.
Ms Ntumi and Sandra Mensimah Owusu were expected to compete in the women 49kg and 55kg categories respectively, but failed to show up due to Covid-19 infractions.
The Mauritius event served as a final Commonwealth qualification for Africa, offering a grand opportunity for the continent and athletes to compete in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, following a revision of the participation criteria.
The two hardworking female lifters had earlier participated in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World and Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and had garnered appreciable number of points. However, Winnifred sailed through as a result of better points build-up in the event, which saw her winning bronze in the process.
Winnifred enjoyed an invigorating lift of 56kg and 59kg in her first and second attempts in the snatch, but missed out on her third attempt of 61kg, making her strongest lift in snatch, 59kg. In the clean and jerk event, she lifted 73kg, 74kg and 76kg in her first, second and third attempts making her best clean and jerk, 76kg. She then made a total of 135kg, adding 2kg to her entry total of 132kg.
“I’m extremely excited to have made the Commonwealth Games cut and I hope to work excessively hard to make Ghana proud,” Winnifred told the Times Sports yesterday.
For Sandra, she placed an impressive fifth position in the women’s 55kg Group B category in Uzbekistan, having to cut 10kg off her bodyweight to compete. Unfortunately, the promising lifter could not amass the requisite points for Birmingham.
“Though I’m disappointed not to have made it to the Commonwealth, I have taken everything in my stride. My time will surely come one day,” he said.
BY JOHN VIGAH