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a female powerlifter bites her gold medal on the podium

Lucy Ejike

Powerlifting
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Lucy Ejike is a powerlifting legend. The Nigerian has won Paralympic and world titles throughout her glittering career spanning almost two decades.

She has managed to become one of the best athletes in a country which is home to several of the world’s strongest powerlifters.

In 2018, Ejike secured gold at the African Championships in Algiers, Algeria, and silver in the women’s lightweight at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

A year before, she made her World Championship debut in Mexico City, claiming gold in the women’s up to 61kg.

Ejike has so far competed at five Paralympic Games between 2000 and 2016, winning a staggering three golds and two silvers.

She was Nigeria’s flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony of Rio 2016. Later that year, she was named Female Athlete of the Year at the 2016 Nigeria Sports Awards.

"My secret is discipline and hard work," is her motto for sports and life.

She has paraplegia as a result of the effects of polio after contracting the illness at age one.

Biography

Impairment information

Origin of Impairment
Acquired

Further personal information

Family
Two children
Residence
Enugu, NGR
Occupation
Athlete, Sports Administrator
Languages
English
Higher education
Accounting - University of Nigeria: Enugu, NGR

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began powerlifting in 2000.
Why this sport?
"I saw some people with impairments doing Para powerlifting and it made me interested in the sport. I went to the gym and the coach was happy to train me. I had a passion for powerlifting and I wanted to use it to inspire the world."
Name of coach
Feyisetan Are [national]

International debut

Year
2000
Competing for
Nigeria

General interest

Hobbies
Music, sport. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the 61kg category at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (SportsDeskOnline, 30 Apr 2021; Athlete, 10 Jul 2019)
Most influential person in career
Nigerian Para powerlifter Patricia Okafor. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2019)
Hero / Idol
Nigerian sprinter Mary Onyali-Omagbemi. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"My secret is discipline and hard work." (cctv.com, 10 Sep 2008)
Awards and honours
She was named Female Athlete of the Year at the 2016 Nigeria Sports Awards. (powerlifting.ng, 14 Aug 2018; vanguardngr.com, 05 Dec 2016)

She was flag bearer for Nigeria at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (myinfo.rio2016.com, 06 Sep 2016)
Milestones
The gold medal she won at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro made her the first Nigerian athlete from any sport to win a medal at five editions of the Paralympic Games, the second Nigerian athlete from any sport to win five career Paralympic medals, and the first female Nigerian athlete from any sport to win three Paralympic Games gold medals. (SportsDeskOnline, 30 Apr 2021)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo and to set up a foundation to improve sports development among Para athletes in Nigeria. (okayafrica.com, 28 Aug 2017)
Impairment
She has paraplegia as a result of the effects of polio. She contracted the illness at age one. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2019; okayafrica.com, 28 Aug 2017)
Other information
RIVALRY WITH OTMAR
She admits that her rivalry with Egyptian Para powerlifter Fatma Omar has provided motivation for her sporting career. Both of them competed in all five editions of the Paralympic Games from 2000 to 2016 and against one another in the same categories in 2000, 2012 and 2016. Omar won gold in 2000 and 2012 when Ejike took silver but, in 2016, Ejike claimed gold and Omar silver. "Fatma Omar is the one who has pushed me to be stronger. She is my friend and we are very close. When we met for the first time at the 2000 Games, she showed me that I would have a very big task. I asked myself, 'Does the person who won gold have two heads? Definitely not. She has one head', and if she could get gold, I can also get a gold medal. She made me start working harder than ever. At the 2016 Games, it was tense and everybody was there to watch Lucy and Fatma. It was very tough but it was the day I won a gold against Omar and it sent me crazy. I was shouting a lot." (bbc.co.uk, 03 Sep 2020; paralympic.org, 17 Aug 2020; paralympic.org, 26 Jun 2019)

OCCUPATION
She has served as a sports officer for Enugu State Sports Council since 2000. (Facebook profile, 14 Apr 2021)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games (Sydney, Australia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's -44 kg Final Round 2
Athens 2004 Paralympic Games (Athens, Greece)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's -44 kg Final Round 1
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's -48 kg Final Round 1
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's -56 kg Final Round 2012-09-02 2
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's -61 kg Final Round 2016-09-11 1
Mexico City 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships (Mexico City, Mexico)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Up to 61.00kg Final 2017-12-05 1