It has been a harvest of medals for Nigeria at the ongoing Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with the West African country now ranking among the top 10 on the overall medals table.
According to Vanguard Newspaper, by Monday, Team Nigeria’s haul from the Games stood at nine medals: six gold, two silver, and one bronze.
Team Nigeria is competing in three events, namely para-athletics, power lifting, and para table tennis.
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Nigeria’s largest single medal haul came on Sunday, with three gold medal wins — two of them from power lifters Paul Kehinde in the men’s 65kg category and Team Nigeria captain Lucy Ejike in the women’s 61kg category.
Ejike’s win in the women’s 61kg event smashed both of the previous Paralympics and world records. In addition, Onye Lauritta’s gold medal in the women’s shotput event made it three gold medals for Nigeria on Sunday.
On Monday, Nigeria’s power lifter Bose Omolayo snapped up the gold medal in the women’s 79kg category with a lift of 138kg to set a new Paralympics Games and world record. China’s Xu Lili won silver for her lift of 135kg and Taipei’s Lin Tzu-Hui picked up the event’s bronze medal.
Also on Monday, Nigerian Ndidi Nwosu, competing in the 73kg women’s powerlifting event, lifted 140kg to snatch the gold medal and narrowly edge out France’s Souhad Ghazouani who also lifted 140kg to pick up silver while Egypt’s Amany Ali won bronze.
Team Nigeria has now climbed to first place in Africa and ninth position on the overall medal ranking with China, Great Britain, Ukraine, the United States, and host Brazil holding down the first five positions.
Nigeria’s dominant showing so far in the Rio Paralympics will hopefully put to bed the memories of the country’s particularly woeful showing in the just-concluded summer Olympics that saw the West African country return with just one bronze medal from Brazil amid a host of controversies and organisational lapses.
The Rio Paralympics began on September 7th (two weeks after the end of the summer Olympics), and it will continue until September 18th. The Paralympics is a multidisciplinary sports event that celebrates the talents and proficiency of athletes with disabilities. The Rio Paralympics is the 15th summer Olympic event. The first official Paralympic event was held in Rome in 1960, and there have been 17 successive Paralympic Games ever since.
An estimated 4,300 athletes from 161 countries are competing in 528 events in 22 sports at the 2016 Rio Paralympics Games.