Day 2 of the ongoing Rio 2016 Paralympic Games was a day to remember for Team Nigeria as the country clinched two medals on Friday, September 9 in Brazil.

The first Nigerian athlete in action was Latifat Tijani who competed in the women’s -45kg class in the Powerlifting event where she won Silver with a mark of 106kg, having been denied GOLD by China’s Dandan Hu who set a World and Paralympic Record (PR) of 107kg to win GOLD.

That notwithstanding, Tijani will be pleased by the fact that she clinched the country’s first silverware at the competition.

Inspired by Tijani’s performance, compatriot Roland Ezuruike went further by striking Nigeria’s first GOLD medal at the Rio Paralympic Games, dominating the men’s -54kg to emerge victorious in the event.

The Glasgow 2014 Silver medallist was no match for his competitors, setting Paralympic Records (PR) in each of his three attempts, before making an unsuccessful attempt at the World Record (WR) of 205kg.

The reverse was the case for Emmanuel Chinedu Dick in Group D of the men’s Singles Class 4 in the Table Tennis event. The Nigerian succumbed to his second consecutive defeat at the Rio Games where he lost 3-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-5) to Korea’s Jung-Gil Kim.

It was the same story for Ahmed Koleosho who was outclassed by Ukraine’s Vasyl Petruniv in Class 3 Group E, also in the men’s Table Tennis event.

Koleosho who lost his first group match against Sweden’s Alexander Oehgren the day before, was beaten 3-1 by Petruniv on Friday.

However their female teammate Faith Obiora put up a spirited fight against Taipei’s Mei-Hui Wei, securing a much needed 3-2 victory (11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8,7-11, 15-13) to win the game in the women’s Singles Class 5 Group B.

This is an improvement for Obiora who lost her first game against China’s Gai Gu the previous day, thus finishing 2nd in her group to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Meanwhile in the Athletics event, Hannah Babalola missed out on a podium finish after placing 7th in the women’s T54 category of the 100m. The race was won by Chinese Wenjun Liu who clocked a Season’s Best (SB) of 16.00s as USA’s Tatyana McFadden scooped Silver in 16.13s.

This is the first Paralympics outing for the Union Bank ambassador who posted a time of 16.85s, improving on her time of 17.24s set in the heat the previous day.

Babalola will be looking forward to a better performance in the 800m, which comes up on Saturday, September 17th.

 

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.

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