Nigeria’s Josephine Orji burst onto the international Para powerlifting scene at the 2014 World Championships when she became the world’s strongest female Paralympian.
With her then world record of 151kg, she made the rest of the women’s over 86kg field sit up and pay attention.
Once again in 2015 Orji strengthened her position at the top with another world best of 153kg at the Asian Open Championships.
Then at Rio 2016 Orji added an incredible 7kg onto her previous best, leading to a 100 per cent record of gold medals and world records in the three major international competitions she has entered.
Orji will be hoping to continue her dominance at her second World Championships in Mexico City in 2017.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
She finished fourth at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan and believes her position outside of the podium places was caused by a Nigerian team official mistakenly telling the event officials that her first lift would be 125kg. That meant she was placed among the lower-ranked Group B competitors and she was unable to react to the weights the Group A competitors were lifting later in the competition. "My name was showing on the scoreboard as a world record holder, yet I was stuck in Group B and that was so disappointing. I didn't want to compete. When a champion is defeated, it is shameful and, for the first time in my life, I came back from a tournament empty handed. It was a disgrace to me. But I am doing this for my name and so that my children will know that their mother will keep giving her all." (bbc.com, 02 Sep 2020)
MOTHERHOOD AND SPORT
She claimed that she felt pressurised into making a quick return to Para powerlifting after missing the 2017 World Championships in Mexico City, Mexico to give birth to her second child. "I was under pressure from the federation and coaches to come back as soon as possible, despite my medical report. It was like no one was listening. I lost some strength and did not enjoy my maternity leave because I had to get back three months after. I was bleeding at times during training but somehow it wasn't enough. I am still struggling [said in September 2020]. I get sick sometimes and I never got sick before." (bbc.com, 02 Sep 2020)
|Women's Over 86.00 kg MD||Final||2014-04-11||1|
|Women's +86 kg||Final Round||2016-09-14||1|