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Ghanaian weightlifter Winnifred Ntumi clinches gold and two silvers at 2023 African Games

Ghanaian weightlifter Winnifred Ntumi has secured her country’s first medals at the ongoing African Games in Accra, claiming a gold and two silvers in the women’s 49-kilogramme category.


Ntumi, 21, emerged victorious with a pair of silver medals in the 49-kilogramme Snatch and the 49-kilogramme Clean and Jerk categories, along with a gold in the overall 49kg category for the host nation in the event held at the GCB Hall at the University of Ghana, Legon.

In the Snatch category, Ntumi’s performance of 63 secured her second place behind Mauritius’ Sheridane Pasnin (64), who clinched gold. She outperformed Madagascar’s Ny Hasina Andrimitantsoa Zo Lalainarinirina (60) and Tunisia’s Tasnim Ben Wada (59), who claimed third and fourth place respectively.

Tunisia’s Wada claimed gold in the Clean & Jerk with a lift of 81, ahead of Ntumi (81), while Zo Lalain (80) and Pasnin (75) secured third and fourth place.

With a total tally of 144, Ntumi’s outstanding performance earned her the gold medal overall in the 49-kilogramme category.

Ntumi’s achievements add to her impressive track record, having previously won three bronze medals in the women’s 45kg events at the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco. At just 16 years old in 2019, she also secured a bronze medal in the women’s 49kg bodyweight at the Africa Seniors Weightlifting Championship in Cairo, Egypt.

In December 2021, Ntumi won bronze in Uzbekistan during the World Championship/Commonwealth qualification in the 49kg category.

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Ntumi threatened to quit the sport in June 2020 because she could not find a job.

Speaking to media men, Ntumy stressed the need for the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Sports Authority (NSA) to employ or find employment for the nation’s athletes to keep them active in sports and also guarantee them a meaningful source of income.

She said without employment, she might be compelled to quit and find a job outside the sport to cater for herself and her family, adding that the pressure to find a means of survival was huge.

According to Ntumi, though she loved to do sports, the motivation and inspiration from the authorities were absent.

“As a weightlifter, I have to get good nutrition and sound mind to train, but I sometimes feel sad and want to quit. But when I think of people like Ben Nunoo Mensah, (chairman of the Ghana Weighlifting Federation) who has over the years motivated me to keep on I changed my mind,” she revealed.

“I do not understand why footballers in the national team are given better care than boxers, athletes, and other sportsmen and women. If it gets worse, I would have no choice than to stop and look for a job elsewhere,” she lamented.

She, however, praised Mr Nunoo Mensah, who doubles as the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) President, for taking care of her over the years.


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