Not only was Nigeria Africa’s most successful nation at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, but their Para athletes also achieved more medals than their Olympic counterparts.
The African nation earned 12 medals (eight golds, two silvers and two bronzes) at the Rio 2016 Paralympics that included historic record-breaking performances from their powerlifting and track and field athletes.
This enters at No. 23 in the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Top 50 Moments of 2016.
Six of Nigeria’s eight gold medals came in powerlifting, contributing to their highest-ever finish in the medals table at 17th.
Josephine Orji became the world’s strongest female Paralympian with a world record lift of 160kg in the women’s over 86kg on her Games debut.
“It is very special for me to win gold at my first Paralympic Games,” said Orji. “We eat a lot of good food and that is why we are so strong.”
Bose Omolayo, Ndidi Nwosu, Lucy Ejike, Paul Kehinde and Roland Ezuruike joined Orji at the top of the powerlifting podium
Kehinde also set a new world record of 220kg in the men’s up to 65kg, whilst Omolayo did the same in the women’s up to 79kg with a 138kg haul. Ejike set a new mark in the women’s up to 61kg to claim gold on her fifth attempt.
These incredible performances contributed towards a five-place jump in the medals table from London 2012, where Nigeria finished 22nd. Since the country’s debut at Barcelona 1992, Nigeria have also been challenged by countries such as Egypt for the crown of Africa’s most successful nation.
But this was not to be in Rio with Nigerians finding success outside the bench; their athletes also impressed in field events at the Olympic stadium.
Flora Ugwunwa claimed gold in the women’s javelin F54 with a new world record of 20.25m. Lauritta Onye entered the history books in the women’s shot put F40 with an 8.40m throw and Eucharia Iyiazi reached a season’s best to take bronze in the women’s discus F57.
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2016, visit the dedicated page on the IPC’s website.