LONDON, July 30, 2012 - There are
many firsts for Kenyans and team Kenya at the London Olympics; there is the
pioneer Kenyan Javelin thrower, a Kenyan female boxer and the sole weightlifter
qualifier, Mercy Obiero.
Kenyan T-shirt she may cut a forlorn figure at the Games village with her
ripped and toned figure a contrast from the lean runners’ frames who constitute
majority of the contingent.
qualification too is by no means an easy feat as she goes down in history, as
the first female weightlifter and only the third Kenyan in the sport to qualify
for the Olympics.
and relishes the significance that would come with representing Kenya in the
Olympics, which she hopes will blaze a trail for Kenyan women into the sport.
“It is a
big thing for me. Am very excited about competing here. Interestingly there is
no tension as am ready to take it on,” she said.
Olympics is a special session if not the best of the best and we are all eyeing
the coveted Olympic medals, the exposure of competing with World champions.”
preparation for her biggest career showcase has been unique.She was among the
Kenyans who stayed at the Bristol camp and had a chance to train and prepare
using the right equipment, a welcome departure from the under equipped
gymnasium at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani.
“We had a
longer period in camp and I feel I have improved a lot.I got to use similar
equipment to what I will use at the competition for the first time, so I am
advantaged this time round," said Obiero, 34, who was drawn to
weightlifting by her elder brother, David, who represented Kenya at various
weightlifting events, but never at the Olympics.
“I got to
fully concentrate on my training and perfecting my techniques using the right
John Ogola believes that Obiero can surpass the achievements of pioneer Collins
Okoth who competed at the Atlanta games and Pius Ochieng , who was the
contender in Barcelona in 1992.
the goal of participating in the Olympics she has an individual goal which is
surpassing her past achievements in an international competition, which
includes a medal,”Ogola said after a training session at the ExCel
she is at 95 percent condition and by Wednesday she should have completed her
programme and ready for the challenge.”
whose best lifts are 115kg in the clean and jerk and 80kg in the snatch is
clear about her intentions.
“I want to
be in contention for a medal so I am not just here for the experience, so I
expect things will be a lot different.”
seasoned Kenyan weightlifter was granted a wildcard after her sixth place
finish sixth at the African qualifiers where she returned a total of 156kg
snatching 65kg and a clean and jerk of 91kg.
her chances Obiero, a contender at several continental championships and three
Commonwealth Games opted to scale up her weight, to the 69kg category, to boost
her medal prospects.
last major competition in India (The Commonwealth Games) I did 110kg. For the
qualifiers I did 90kg in clean and jerk and I’ve moved up to 70 in the snatch from
60,”said Obiero who works as a Gym instructor in Nairobi.