Nigeria Para Powerlifters have intensified effort to emerge as champions at the World Championships next month. Mexico City will stage a nine-day long festival of Para sport between September 30 and October 7, as the city stages the 2017 World Para swimming and Para powerlifting Championships.
The West Africa at the 2016 Rio Paralympics won nine medals consisting of 6 Gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze making them the most successful lifter in the championship. Ezuruike Roland, Paul Kehinde, Josephine Orji, Omolayo Bose and Lucy Ejike broke set new records at last year’s Olympic Games.
According to the World Paralympics, more than 360 powerlifters from 65 countries will gather in the Juan de la Barrera Olympic Gymnasium.
ACLsports.com takes a look Nigeria lifters who are aiming the World titles in Mexico City:
1. Paul Kehinde: Since the Lagos born lifter made his international debut in the men’s 72 kg event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games where he won a gold medal; Kehinde has never lost a single competition.
Kehinde also won gold in the 65 kg category at the 2015 IPC Powerlifting Asian Open championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, twice breaking the men’s -65 kg World Record (WR) in the Powerlifting event lifting an astonishing 220kg to claim gold in style at the Rio Games.
China’s Hu Peng will be his strongest opponent.
2. Josephine Orji: The Imo State lifter seeks to defend her world title from Dubai 2014 where she lifted 151 kg.
Two years later at the Paralympics in Rio, Orji shattered the world record of the women’s +86 kg power-lifting event with a lift of 154 kg to win the gold medal, whereby added 7kg to her own world record after clearing the bar at 160 kg.
3. Esther Oyema: The Nigerian Champion will face a familiar foe and home crowd’s favourite, Amalia Perez, in the women’s up to 55 kg.
Onyema lifted a weight of 136.0 kg to set the new world record in the lightweight at the 2014 commonwealth games in Glasgow. Their last meeting was at Rio 2016, with Perez (130 kg) emerging as triumphant, but Oyema (127kg) ending closely behind.
The non appearance of Nigeria lifter may likely affect the team’s participation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which is three years from now.
Nigeria missed the World Championship in Qatar, UAE and the World Cup in Eder, Hungary where the Egyptian lifters snatched a total of five gold medals.