11th Africa Armwrestling Championships kicked off Thursday at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos, with 12 countries vying for honours.
Samuel Jackson, the president of the Nigeria Armwrestling Federation, pledged that the competition would be a success.
The countries are Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Benin, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Senegal.
The athletes will 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 anticipation 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,” Jackson explained.
The armwrestling federation president added, “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.”
According to him, the competition will serve as a qualifying series for the world championship slated for Turkey later in the year.
He said 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, the Ghana head coach, said his six-man team was in Lagos to compete for gold medals.
“We are very good at armwrestling in Ghana and we are proud to be here in Lagos to compete for honours, so we hope only for the best,” Mensah stressed. “We want more progress like this so that we can develop ourselves in Africa so as to compete at the world stage.”
Alex Randraimanarivo, the president of the Armwrestling Federation in Madagascar, said he was in Lagos with four athletes.
He noted that armwrestling was relatively young in his country where it started about two years ago.
“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,” Randraimanarivo said. “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.”
Another participant, Nijike Nercisse, the Cameroon head coach, stated that his team was prepared to win gold medals at the competition.
A participant from Egypt, Abdulrahman Nasir said the championship was a great development for him to build his profile in Africa.
He said he had attended many world championships though the event in Nigeria would be his first African appearance and hoped to win gold medals with both left and right hands.
The competition will end on Sunday.