Josephine Orji Caps Team Nigeria’s Brilliant Outing with Powerlifting Gold



Duro Ikhazuagbe

Nigerian power-lifter, Josephine Orji, last night shattered the World Record of the women’s -+86kg power-lifting event at the ongoing 2016 Paralympics Games in Rio, Brazil with a lift of 154kg to win the gold medal.

The gold medal is Nigeria’s 8th at the 2016 Paralympics. Team Nigeria is comfortably seated in the 10th position on the overall medals table with 8 gold, 2 silver and one bronze.

Poland’s Marzena Zieba who finished with 134kg settled for the silver finished while Holland’s Melaica Tuinfort got the consolatory bronze with her best lift of 130kg in the +86kg category.
Orji’s performance yesterday capped the brilliant performance of Team Nigeria’s special athletes at the Games. The swashbuckling fair complexioned Nigerian lady who was sure of her capability opted to enter the battle with the other competitors on a frightening scale.

She entered the contest with 151kg lift, a weight that was far beyond the capacity of any other competitor in her category.

The only other lifter who came close to her effrontery, Egypt’s Nadya Ali failed in all her three attempts to lift 145kg.

With the gold already in the kitty, Orji now set her mind at taking the World Record. Twice she failed to lift the 154kg but buoyed on by her vociferous teammates and Technical Adviser, Areh Feyisetan, Orji dug deep into her inner strength in the third attempt to surmount the obstacle and pocket the World Record.

Her attempt at lifting 160kg was a mission impossible but was however consoled with climbing the podium for the precious gold and a world record to butt.

Earlier in the day, Flora Ugwunwa had won the Women’s Javelin Throw – F53/54 event.
With a throw of 20.25m, Ugwunwa set a new world record to beat Tunisia’s Hania Aidi and South Africa’s Ntombizanele Situ to second and third places respectively.

Petit Lauritta Onye won Nigeria’s other track and field gold in the Shot Put event.
Competing in the women’s shot put f40 event on the Day-four of the Rio Paralympics, Onye first heaved 7.83m that saw her break her world record of 7.72m set at the IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar in 2015.

Her second throw was 7.54m. She however went one centimeter further on her third attempt.
Onye’s fourth attempt of 8.40m sent Team Nigeria camp into jubilation mood as it secured the fifth gold medal for the country.

Onye’s medal is Nigeria’s seventh at the Rio Paralympic Games.

Ndidi Nwosu defeated the defending champion to win women’s -73kg Powerlifting event gold medal
Nwosu was set for the bronze medal before she stepped up in her very last attempt, lifting 140kg to equal the Paralympics Record (PR) and usurp France’s Souhad Ghazouani for the gold.
Another Nigerian, Bose Omolayo broke her own World Record (WR) and set a new one of 138kg to win gold medal.

Earlier at the weekend, Team Nigeria’s captain, Lucy Ejike, broke the Paralympic and world record three successive times, to win the women’s -61kg event in power-lifting. Her successful attempt at on Sunday set a new Paralympic record and world record.

Ejike went on to set a bigger mark of 138kg, before lifting a massive 142kg.
Another power-lifter, Paul Kehinde, had earlier at the weekend given Team Nigeria her second gold medal of the Games. Kehinde in the -65kg men’s category, lifted 218kg to beat his rivals to the gold medal.

His gold came after Roland Ezuruike had on Friday won Nigeria’s first gold in Rio, also in power-lifting.

China’s Peng Hu (200kg) finished second, while Egypt’s Shaaban Ibrahim (193kg) won the bronze medal.

Latifat Tijani won silver in the women’s power-lifting -45kg on Friday, with Esther Oyema adding another silver in the women’s power-lifting -55kg category on Saturday.

Team Nigeria’s eight gold, two silver and one bronze medals so far has better the Sydney 2000 Paralympics all-time haul of seven gold, one silver and five bronze medals.