Team Nigeria’s Captain at the ongoing Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Lucy Ejike has demonstrated that she is a leader indeed, shattering the Paralympic and World Record three successive times to dominate the women’s -61kg event in Powerlifting.

Ejike began her campaign at the Riocentro Pavillion 2 on Sunday with a successful attempt at 136.0kg, which was a new Paralympic Record (PR) and World Record (WR). However that was only a glimpse of what was to come. She went on to set a superior mark of 138.0kg at her next attempt, before culminating with a massive lift of 142.0kg.

Inspired by her impressive form, the 38-year old requested for the weights to be set at 145kg outside of competition. However she was unable to make a clean lift, and her mark of 142.0kg survived the onslaught.

Eventual Silver medallist Egypt’s Fatma Omar had tried to toe the line of the Nigerian, but had to settle for 2nd place with her lift of 140kg. China’s Yan Yang won the Bronze medal with a distant 128kg.

Ejike’s medal is Nigeria’s fifth at the ongoing Games, and third GOLD medal behind Roland Ezuruike and Paul Kehinde who also dominated their respective categories in the Powerlifting event. Latifat Tijani and Esther Onyema won Silver medals respectively.

The Rio 2016 Games is Ejike’s fifth outing at the Paralympics, and she has a medal to her name in each competition. She made her debut in Sydney 2000 where she won Silver behind Omar in the -44kg category. She then upgraded to GOLD at Athens 2004, winning with a WR of 127.5kg.

She struck GOLD again at Beijing 2008 where she competed in the -48kg class, breaking the WR twice to win with a mark of 130kg. She also won a Silver medal in London four years ago where she competed in the -56kg category.

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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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