Nigerian stars all set to entertain home fans at season opener

04 Feb 2020
A woman in a wheelchair celebrating with a man standing behind her during a Para powerlifting competition
JUBILANT: Nigeria's Lucy Ejike celebrates a successful lift for gold at the Nur-Sultan 2019 World Para Powerlifting Championships.
ⒸHiroki Nishioka for World Para Powerlifting
By World Para Powerlifting

Nigerian capital Abuja will kick off the preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games by hosting some of the world’s strongest powerlifters in the season-opener World Para Powerlifting World Cup starting 5-7 February.

A total of 183 powerlifters from 21 nations will be in action including big wigs like Egypt’s Paralympic and World Champion Sherif Osman.

Hosts Nigeria had topped the Para powerlifting medals table at the Rio 2016 Games and will be fielding all their international stars in their backyards.

Three-time Paralympic and current world champion Lucy Ejike will lead the way in the women’s up to 61kg at the Abuja International Conference Centre on Wednesday (5 February).

Rio 2016 champion Roland Ezuruike is another home favourite in action in the men’s up to 54kg.

Mexico City 2017 and Nur-Sultan 2019 World Championships gold medallist Rehab Ahmed of Egypt will also take centre-stage on day one in the women’s up to 50kg.

More local stars on day two

All eyes will be on the high-profile Osman on day two, as he takes a shot at the title in the men’s up to 59kg. But he will not be the only one who can deliver.

After a shocking defeat at last year’s Nur-Sultan Worlds, Nigeria’s Rio 2016 gold medallist Paul Kehinde starts his quest for comeback in front of the home fans in the men’s up to 65kg.

On the closing day on Friday, Rio 2016 and Nur-Sultan 2019 champion Bose Omolayo will be looking for gold in the women’s up to 79kg.

The final day also starts with more local stars on stage as Nur-Sultan 2019 gold medallist Folashade Oluwafemiayo and  Rio 2016 winner Josephine Orji takes on a strong field in the women’s up to 86kg and over 86kg category, respectively.

Brazil’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Evanio da Silva is another firm favourite in the men’s up to 88kg while Paralympic silver medallists Egypt’s Mohamed Ahmed is the one to beat in the men’s up to 97kg.

Georgia’s Nur-Sultan 2019 bronze medallist Iago Gorgodze challenges the Nigerian powerlifters in the men’s up to 107kg and over 107kg combined before closing the first of the five World Cups ahead of Tokyo.

Abuja 2020 will be livestreamed on World Para Powerlifting website and Facebook pages.

You can follow more action on World Para Powerlifting Twitter and Instagram pages.