By Christopher Maduewesi
Folashade Oluwafemiayo broke her own World Record (WR), to win GOLD for Team Nigeria in the women’s Heavyweight Powerlifting event. The Paralympic champion was in an incredible form, lifting a new WR of 155kg to clinch the GOLD medal, surprisingly her first GOLD medal at the Commonwealth Games.
In fact it was an inspired Nigerian 1-2 finish, with Bose Omolayo getting in on the act as well, securing the Silver medal with a lift of 145kg, very clear of the third place finisher, Australia’s Hani Watson who won the Bronze medal with a lift of 127kg.
Oluwafemiayo who weighs 83.50kg, racked up a cumulative 123.4 points, and was clearly ahead of other Powerlifters, laying down the marker when she opened up with a lift of 130k, going on to improve with an additional 20kg and then 5kg more to emerge with a clear victory.
Before coming into the competition, Oluwafemiayo had a previous World Record of 152.5kg which she set at Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She now looks like her own biggest competitor breaking her WRs at back to back championships!
Innocent Nnamdi had set the tone for what would be a good out for Nigerian Powerlifters, winning the first medal in the men’s Lightweight category. Although he failed his round attempt of 190kg, when he did lift it on his 2nd round attempt, he shot up into the medal winning position and it remained that way as he held on for the Bronze.
If Nnamdi had not secured Bronze, it would have gone his compatriot, Thomas Kure who finished 4th not quite far off the medal positions, lifting 180kg and just narrowly missing out.
Ikechukwu Obichukwu crowned what had been a spectacular day for his country, winning the Silver medal in men’s Heavyweight Powerlifting. He lifted 190kg, and his medal took Nigeria’s tally to an overall four medals from three Powerlifting events contested for.
Nigeria has consistently been a strong Powerlifting nation, constantly win medals at major championships they compete in. With just three events contested for at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, it is not surprising that they still emerged tops with the highest medal tally overall, considering that they lost two athletes to disqualifications in women’s Lightweight categories.
It will surely take some beating for the Nigerian Powerlifters to be knocked off their perch in this event.