NAIROBI, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's veteran weightlifter Mercy Obiero's dream of competing at the second Olympics was realized Tuesday after International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) granted her a wild card.
Obiero will be eyeing her second shot at the Olympics after she made a debut in Beijing in 2008.
Obiero together with Duke Machaka were the only Kenyans who managed a top 40 position during the Africa Weightlifting Championships, which were held in Nairobi in March.
"I am overwhelmed with this gesture. I had high hopes of making it through the continental qualifiers, but it was not to be. However, surprisingly, I never lost hope," she said on Tuesday.
Obiero is the only second Kenyan to compete at the Olympics. She was in Beijing 2008, which was 12 years since Collins Okoth Nyawalo represented Kenya at the Atlanta Games in the 100kg category.
"Immediately after the Africa trials I kept on training hard. I still had hope. I knew that fate would get me a ticket because, I was told by my coach that IWF looks at best performances and the lucky lifters get a chance," she said.
"Yesterday (Monday) I was surprised to receive a call from our federation chairman notifying me of the decision by IWF to grant me a wild card slot."
Obiero (63kg) was in Beijing in 2008, but never went past the second round. "I am happy that I'm among those considered as Africa's best," said Obiero.
Pius Ochieng, the Kenya Weightlifting Association chairman, said they are keen to secure Obiero a gym in Europe for training purpose.
Ochieng said the wild card came as a result of individual performance that was displayed by Kenyan contestants in the trials for Olympics even though none made it to the Olympics.
The Africa Olympic qualifying tournament ended in Nairobi with Nigeria and Cameroon ruling the roost in a competition that attracted the top 13 countries from Africa.
Kenya finished tenth overall in men's team classification that was headed by Nigeria. Kenya women finished eighth with Algeria leading the pack.
Obiero will join Nigerians Mariam Usman (75kg) and Margaret Uwah (58kg). Usman snatched 125kg and a massive lift of 156kg to win the gold while Uwah managed 85kg (snatch) and 106kg (clean and jerk).
Nigerians will also have Shola Fadodun, gold winner in the men' s 62kg at the Olympics.
Special Report: London Olympics 2012