Nigeria's Coach Pat receives IPC International Women's Day Recognition award

Patience Igbiti has been a key driver pushing women’s inclusion in the sport in Africa and internationally for over 30 years 08 Mar 2023
A woman in a wheelchair with a green Nigerian shirt
Patience Igbiti is Nigeria’s first female champion in Para powerlifting and a Paralympic medallist from Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008
ⒸHiroki Nishioka/WPPO
By IPC and World Para Powerlifting

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced Nigerian coach Patience Igbiti as the winner of the 2023 the IPC 2023 International Women’s Day Recognition Awards in the Leadership category.

The IPC revealed the winners in the four categories on 8 March (Wednesday) to mark the International Women’s Day.  

The Awards, which the IPC has been running since 2013, primarily recognise women in the Paralympic Movement who inspire and emulate the Paralympic ideals and serve as positive role models. The winners were chosen by members of the IPC Governing Board following nominations from across the Paralympic membership. 

The Leadership category acknowledges sustained and consistent leadership over a period of time, advocacy, overall contributions and impact promoting and supporting women in sport. Candidates considered for this category included coaches, current or former athletes, administrators, and officials.  

"It is fantastic to see Coach Pat honoured with this recognition. It is important for the sport's community to see women not only represented among athletes but other stakeholders like coaches, technical officials, classifiers and managers,” said World Para Powerlifting Performance and Development Manager, Dillon Richardson. 

“We hope this will continue to promote and increase women's involvement in the sport in all roles, and encourage more athletes to stay involved after they retire from competition to share their experiences and create a positive sport culture," Richardson added.

The IPC statement on the award winners said:

Known throughout the Para powerlifting community simply as “Coach Pat”, Patience Igbiti has been a key driver pushing women’s inclusion in the sport in Africa and internationally for over 30 years.
Starting her career as an athlete in 1990, she became Nigeria’s first female champion in the sport, a multi-Paralympic medallist and six-time world record holder, after she retired from the sport she become the first female coach in Nigeria’s history, and one of the first Para powerlifting.  

Under her leadership, Nigeria’s women have dominated the sport, winning 10 gold medals at her first Paralympic Games as a coach at London 2012, and 17 out of 60 medals at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Currently Nigerian women hold four of the 10 Paralympic records, more than any other country.  

As a coach she has been a keen supporter of gender equity and has helped increase female representation in the sport in several ways. She has been a mentor for women from other countries and regions, has been a leading advocate of World Para Powerlifting’s “She Can Lift” programme and blazed a trail as a technical official and administrator, and has created opportunities for women in her state and country by organising training camps and competitions.  

Andrew Parsons, IPC President said: “A huge well done to the winners for their well-deserved recognition, and a thank you to all of those who entered the awards. We are excited that there are so many female advocates from across the world making the Paralympic Movement more inclusive and opening new opportunities for women.”  

More information about the IPC 2023 International Women’s Day Recognition Awards can be found here.