Esther Onyema increased Team Nigeria’s medal tally to three at the ongoing 2016 Paralympic Games, winning Silver in the women’s -55kg Powerlifting event on Saturday.
The former champion came very close to winning GOLD but lost out in the battle of mind games as her Mexican counterpart, Amalia Perez outfoxed her to take the win lifting a World Record (WR) and also a Paralympic Record (PR) of 130kg. Onyema on her part finished 2nd with 127kg, while China’s Cuijian Xiao won Bronze lifting 115kg.
Knowing her capability and also gunning for her own WR, Onyema opted to enter the competition at 127kg, while other lifters started with less. However it was not as straight forward as she would have anticipated as she failed in her first attempt at that weight.
Onyema cleanly got the mark in her second attempt which was a then WR and PR, taking her up to first position ahead of other competitors.
However Perez had other ideas. Having initially lifted 120kg which saw her lead at a point Perez had to work another tactics, ditching the 128kg she wanted to go for as she asked for 130kg.
Her Nigerian counterpart followed suit and also requested for 130kg, but it was Perez who lifted her way to glory, smashing Onyema’s WR and PR feat to secure the win.
It was a gallant effort by the Nigerian athlete as she came from no score in her first attempt to secure Silver with just one valid lift.
Do you know: of the three medals Nigeria have won at the 2016 Paralympic Games, all have come from Powerlifting. One GOLD, two Silver medals.