Paralympics: Orji breaks world record, wins Nigeria’s 8th gold


It was another golden day for Team Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games as Josephine Orji won another gold for the country in the women’s +86kg Powerlifting.

Orji lifted a weight of 160kg to break her own previous world record of 153kg which she had set in 2015 at the IPC World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The medal brings Nigeria’s haul to 11medals – eight gold, two silver and one bronze medals. The total has kept Nigeria as the best African country in the medals table and now 10th overall.

It was a one-man show for Orji who was more or less competing against herself as she completely dominated her other competitors to win with a world record mark of 160kg, which she achieved in her fourth attempt.

Orji entered the competition with a clean lift of 151kg in her first attempt before failing to lift 154kg in her second attempt. She however ensured that the world record was broken in her third attempt as she cleared 154kg. The fourth attempt further extended the record by 6kg.

The Nigerian established a big gap with her closest challengers. Poland’s Marzena Zieba, who won silver finished with a lift of 134kg, while Netherlands’ Melaica Tuinfort won bronze after lifting her best mark of 130kg.

The Powerlifting arm of the International Paralympic Committee praised Nigeria’s dominance in the event.

“WOOOOOOOOOOOW Nigeria does it again! Gold medal and new world record for Josephine Orji who lifts 154 kg in the Women’s +86 kg #Paralympics,” the IPC wrote.

“And again! New World Record for Orji who lifts 160KG #RIORECORDS #RIO2016 #PARALYMPICS.”

Team Nigeria’s Flora Ugwunwa, who set a new world record in the women’s javelin F53/54 event late on Tuesday, has expressed her excitement after the victory.

Ugwunwa threw a distance of 20.25m in her sixth attempt to win the gold and smash the previous world record of 18.86m set by Tunisia’s Hania Aidi at the Doha 2015 IPC World Championships.

The 32-year-old took to Facebook to express her joy after the victory.

“My friends and family, please join me to praise and thank the Almighty God who granted me an unbeatable victory today by honouring me with a gold medal as well as a world record at the ongoing Paralympics in Rio,” she wrote.

“God you are great and everything written about you is great! His mercy and grace has spoken for me.”

The medal is also Nigeria’s second medal from athletics after Lauritta Onye had won gold in the women’s shot put earlier.

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