THE allegation that some states featuring in the ongoinbg 18th National Sports Festival, Eko 2012 are parading foreign athletes has been finally confirmed, as the the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF) on Sunday stripped Team Anambra of three gold medals won by a lifter, John Baptis.
Baptis, who competed in the 77kg for Anambra won the snatch, clean and jerk and the total events held at the Brai Ayonote Boxing Gymnasium within the National Stadium, Lagos, was discovered to be a Camerounian.
Baptis was said to have featured for Cameroun at the 2012 Olympics qualifier in Kenya.
The secretariat of the Weightlfiting Federation said it had no record of Baptis.
A protest by the competing states led to the setting up of a jury by NWF which later uncovered the true eligibility of the weightlifter.
President of the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation, Chimdi Ejiogu, while speaking on the development confirmed that the medals won by the disgraced Camerounian-born lifter had been withrawn following the discovery that he was not a Nigerian.
“We discovered through findings when the snatch event was going on that he is not a Nigerian as claimed by Team Anambra but we allowed to finish all the events including clean and jerk before we took a decision to expel him and also strip him of the three gold medals he won.” Ejiogu said adding that Anambra State will equally be sanctioned in due course for acting against the rules and regulations guiding the eligibility of an athlete for the National Sports Festival.
Meanwhile, Majinedum Seldom of Kaduna State who placed second in the 77kg weightlifting event has been awarded the gold medal, as Rabiu Ibrahim of Team Nasarawa State who finished third move to the second position while the fourth-placed lifter was awarded the bronze medal.