Team Nigeria got its 2016 Paralympic Games under way, and on Day 1 of the competition, they participated in all the three sports they registered for.

In the women’s 100m -T54, Hannah Babalola secured her place in the final after placing 4th in heat 2 with a time 17.24s to go through as one of the two fastest losers.

Starting from Lane 8, Babalola didn’t have a perfect start but she managed to give herself a chance, wheeling out strongly to finish in 4th. She will now compete in the final on Friday, and will be running in lane 1 this time around.

China’s Yingjie Li won the race with a Personal Best of 16.42s, with Cheri Madsen 2nd in 16.56s as Amanda Kotaja finished 3rd with a time of 16.76s.

In women’s 100m T11, Lovina Onyegbule helped by her guide, Chidozie Kalu finished 4th in heat 4 of the round 1 with a time of 12.70s.

Meanwhile in the women’s Shot Put -F56/57 final, Eucharia Iyiazi narrowly missed out on a podium placement, finishing 4th with a Season’s Best of 9.31m. Iyiazi who is a double 2008 Paralympics GOLD medallist opened her account with a throw of 9.20m, but fouled in her 2nd attempt before getting her best mark in her third attempt.

In her final three rounds, Iyiazi was eager to land big marks but fouled in her fourth and sixth attempts, only recording a valid throw in her fifth attempt with a mark of 9.30m. Mexico’s Angeles Ortiz Hernandez won GOLD with a throw of 10.94m with Algeria’s duo of Nassima Saifi and Nadia Medjmedj taking Silver and Bronze medals respectively. Saifi threw a distance of 10.77m with Medjmedj setting a new World Record of 9.92m in the F56 category.

In Powerlifting, defending champion Yakubu Adesokan surprisingly was not in action despite being initially listed to compete in the men’s -49kg. Adesokan’s compatriot, Nsini Ben had three misses at 101 in the women’s -41kg which saw her finishing in 7th place.

Nigeria also took part in the Table Tennis event, but it was not the sort of performance they would have wished for in the first round.

Although he did put up a good fight in his fourth game as he tried to draw level at 2-2, Ahmed Koleosho was beaten in class 3 group E, losing 3-1 to Sweden’s Alexander Oehgren.

While in class 4 group D, Emmanuel Chinedu Nick lost his match to France’s Thomas Maxine who won in a straight sets of 3-0, same scoreline China’s Gai Gu defeated Chinenye Obiora with.

Athletics coverage was a discovery, having to move away from regularly writing about Football. Although it was initially daunting, but now being an authority in it makes the past effort worthwhile. From travelling on the same international flight with Nigerian athletes, to knowing you could easily interview: World Record holder Tobi Amusan, then Ese Brume, I have cut my teeth in this beat earning the trust of Athletics sources. Formerly the Content Manager-Sports at Ringier media Nigeria, Chris is a Senior Sports writer, Photographer & Community manager at Making of Champions.


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