TEAM Nigeria’s captain at the ongoing Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Lucy Ejike has demonstrated that she is a leader indeed, shattering the Paralympics and World record three successive times to dominate the women’s -61kg event in Powerlifting.
Ejike began her campaign at the Riocentro Pavillion 2 on Sunday with a successful attempt at 136.0kg, which was a new Paralympic record (PR) and World Record (WR). However that was only a glimpse of what was to come. She went on to set a superior mark of 138.0kg at her next attempt, before culminating with a massive lift of 142.0kg.
Inspired by her impressive form, the 38-year old requested for the weights to be set at 145kg outside of competition. However she was unable to make a clean lift, and her mark of 142.0kg survived the onslaught.
Eventual Silver medallist Egypt’s Fatma Omar had tried to toe the line of the Nigerian, but had to settle for 2nd place with her lift of 140kg. China’s Yan Yang won the Bronze medal with a distant 128kg.
Ejike’s medal is Nigeria’s fifth at the ongoing Games, and third gold medal behind Roland Ezuruike and Paul Kehinde who also dominated their respective categories in the Powerlifting event. Latifat Tijani and Esther Onyema won silver medals respectively.
The Rio 2016 Games is Ejike’s fifth outing at the Paralympics, and she has a medal to her name in each competition. She made her debut in Sydney 2000 where she won silver behind Omar in the -44kg category. She then upgraded to gold at Athens 2004, winning with a WR of 127.5kg.
She struck gold again at Beijing 2008 where she competed in the -48kg class, breaking the WR twice to win with a mark of 130kg. She also won a Silver medal in London four years ago where she competed in the -56kg category.
Meanwhile, the sixth world record in powerlifting at Rio 2016 was broken with Nigeria’s Paul Kehinde cruising to the gold medal with a lift of 218kg, which he improved to 220kg with his fourth attempt.
Kehinde in the men’s -65kg category outclassed the rest of the field with China’s Peng Hu the next closest with a lift of 200kg to claim the silver, with Egypt’s Shaaban Ibrahim completing the podium with his effort of 193kg.
The Nigerian rising star had been waiting for this moment for a long time and was very happy to see it all come together perfectly at Rio 2016.
However, Nigeria’s Esther Oyema, who finished with silver, broke the world record with her second attempt at 127kg and narrowly missed out on the gold medal.
Her attempt at 130kg was not deemed satisfactory by two of the three referees, while the bronze medal was claimed by China’s Cuijuan Xiao with a lift of 115kg.