Desmond Akanu claimed two gold medals in the 96kg category of weightlifting to give Team Kaduna it’s first pair of gold at the ongoing 19th National Sports Festival in Abuja.
Desmond lifted 180kg to win the clean and jerk and total of 320kg to win the total but could not make it hatricks of golds after managing only 140kg in the snatch where he placed fourth eventually.
Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja, the double gold medalist, who is appearing in his maiden festival, said he dedicated the pair of gold to his coach, Usman Shehu for his support, mentoring and tutelage. He said his next target is to represent Nigeria and win medals at the forthcoming All African Games next year.
“I left Kaduna with the belief to give my best and I also have the mind of not going back to Kaduna without a medal but I didn’t know that it would be two gold medals. I feel excited and proud of myself, yesterday (Tuesday) was one of my happiest days because it’s not easy to come to the festival for the first time and win gold.
“I dedicate the gold to my coach who has been there for me all these while. I want to represent Nigeria at the All African Games coming up in Guinea next year, because when somebody do well in national competition he should look forward to the African and international scene.”
Desmond said his inspiration is when he browse into International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) event to watch the game and check past and current records in his weight category, “it does encourage me to go out there and do my best”.