By winning three bronze medals at the African Games in Rabat, Uganda’s weightlifter Zubairi Kubo thinks he qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But ahead of the World Championship in Pattaya, Thailand next week, Kubo needs to accept the bitter truth that his road to Tokyo has almost just begun.
The African Games are not among the 22 tournaments designated by the International Weightlifting Federation as qualifiers to the Tokyo Games, yet in April, Kubo and three others wasted the qualification opportunity when they failed to win medals at the African Championship in Cairo.
Now, David Katana, a member of the Uganda Weightlifting Federation, says Kubo’s bronze performance in Rabat just put him in line for qualification but he needs a podium finish in two more events to stand a chance to qualify.
In Rabat, in the 96kg category, Kubo lifted 131kg in snatch and 170 in clear and jerk, totaling 301kg and finishing third overall.
Egypt’s Mohamed Abdelalim took gold with a total of 373 while Algeria’s Saddam Messaoui took silver with a total of 351kg.
Kubo expects a tougher challenge in Pattaya but he promises an equally formidable performance because “I have been training hard since I returned,” the Kisugu Unified Gym lifter said. “I’ll do my best.” Kubo is the first Ugandan weightlifter to win a medal at the African Games.