By Femi Adefioye, Lagos
Captain of Team Nigeria at the ongoing Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Lucy Ejike has shattered both games and World Record three times to win a gold medal for the country in the women’s -61kg event in powerlifting.
Ejike recorded the feat 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 as 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 thus reducing her mark her mark to 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.