The 11th Africa Armwrestling Championships kicked-off on Thursday at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos, with 12 countries vying for honours.
Samuel Jackson, the President, Nigeria Armwrestling Federation, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the competition would be a success.
He said that after the weighing exercise, 12 countries were on ground while more were being expected from their various countries.
The countries are Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Benin, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Senegal.
He said that the participants would compete in the weight categories such as 62kg, 75kg, 80kg, 90kg, 94kg and 100kg.
“It is with great joy that the competition has finally kicked-off with so much preparations and anticipations to make it a good success.
“We are also happy because we worked tenaciously to make the sport a scoring competition in Nigeria, this is why we want corporate organisations to key in and support us.
“After this championship which we are confident of doing well we know that would change at the end, because we prepared well ahead of time to achieve credible results,” Samuel said.
Samuel also added that the essence of the prestigious competition is that it served as a qualifying series for world championship coming up in Turkey later in the year.
He said that the team/athletes that made it to the Quarterfinals in the various weight categories would get automatic qualifications at the end of the championships.
In a related development, Anthony Mensah, Head Coach Ghana, said his six man team was in Lagos to compete for the gold medals.
“We are very good in armwrestling in Ghana and we are proud to be here in Lagos to compete for honours, so we hope only for the best.
“We want more progress like this so that we can develop ourselves in Africa so as to compete at the world stage,”Mensah said.
Alex Randraimanarivo, the President of Armwrestling Federation in Madagascar, told NAN that he was in Lagos with four athletes.
He said that Armwrestling was relatively young in his country where it started about two years ago, adding that the passion was real while the fan base was growing for the game.
“I am not expecting much from my athletes but expect them to put up a good performance and hopefully gather the right experience at the prestigious event.
”We are working hard in Madagascar to build a country that grows the sport most especially the coaches, the referees and the students at the grassroots,” Randraimanarivo said.
Another participant, Nijike Nercisse, the Head Coach of of Cameroon team, also told NAN that his team was prepared to win gold medals at the competition.
He praised the efforts of host country, Nigeria, and also expressed the hope that other African countries would emulate Nigeria.
A participant from Egypt, Abdulrahman Nasir said the championship was a great development for him to build his profile on the African scene.
He said he had attended many world championships, adding that the event in Nigeria was his first African appearance.
He said that his hope was to win gold medals with both left and right hands.
The competition is expected to end on Sunday. (NAN)