TOP Nigeria’s powerlifter, Yakubu Adesokan, has attributed his inability to win a medal at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Paralympics to COVID-19 lockdown.
Adesokan who competed in the men’s -49kg powerlifting category at Tokyo 2020 placed fourth with a lift of 155kg to miss out on the podium for the first time in a major championship.
Adesokan, 2014 World Championships gold medallist after lifting 155kg in his first and second attempts, attempted but failed 156kg in the third, while he also failed to lift 161kg he opted for in a desperate attempt to even get a medal.
Adesokan, London 2012 Paralympics gold medallist was among the favourites not only to win the gold, but also create a world record, but this was not to be in Tokyo as he faltered to the surprise of many Nigerians and even bookmakers.
Speaking exclusively with Sportingtribune on Tuesday, the Ibadan-born powerlifter expressed sadness at the outcome of his outing at Tokyo 2020 but added that he has taken the episode in good faith.
“I arrived here [Tokyo] in the morning of my event and I didn’t have enough time to even rest or train at all. And this was as a result of the COVID-19 test I did which was positive and I had to do another one. At some point, the result was negative, the second positive and at another point, it was negative and positive. So I had to be quarantined for 14 days and as a result of this, I was unable to train and if you don’t train for just a day, you will need two weeks’ training to catch up, talkless of not training for 14 days,” Adesokan told Sportingtribune.
He added that the flight duration from Nigeria to Japan and formalities to be undergone on arrival also affected him.
“The issue was compounded when I flew for two days en route to Tokyo after I was eventually cleared to travel for the Games only to arrive here on the day my event will be held.
Also, I went through a rigorous medical test as stipulated by the Japanese government and this took hours too before I was cleared. So, I went straight for my event without rest.
“This really affected me, if I had two or three hours’ rest, I would have at least won a silver but above all, I thank God for making the Games.
“I used to lift 170 kg or 172 kg but I was unable to make the podium due to circumstances beyond my control as I said. In fact, thanks to Mr Peter Nelson who ensured that I made the trip against all obstacles,” Adesokan said.
He however, ruled out retirement from the sport for now, saying there is no age limit in para-powerlifting.
“I am not considering retiring from the sport for now. Those we competed with from other countries are even older than us. It is only an injury that can force one to go into retirement but for now, I pray to God to bring back my glory and Allah will surely do it,” Adosokan said confidently.