Weightlifter, Latifat Tijani has ensured that Nigeria were the first African country to feature on the Paralympic medal table by claiming powerlifting gold.
The 39-year-old just missed out on the top podium spot in Rio five years ago, but this time emerged as champion after lifting an impressive 107kg in the women’s -45kg category.
Tijani made her intentions clear by putting 105kg on the bar for her first lift, a decision which could have gone wrong for the Lagos hairdresser.
“It’s not that much weight, so I was not happy when I missed my first lift at 105kg,” she said after failing on her first attempt.
Tijani was successful on her second though and then managed 107kg on her third attempt. While she then tried and failed to lift 117kg, which would have been a Paralympic record, her previous effort was enough for the gold with China’s Zhe Cui taking silver with a 102kg lift and Justyna Kozdryk bronze with 101kg.
“I feel bad, because at home I was lifting 126, 127kg. You can see it on my phone. When I wasn’t able to lift 117 today it pained me,” she said afterwards.
As for converting her silver in Rio to gold in Tokyo, Tijani added: “I know that the Chinese lifters are very strong, but I promised myself that I would win my gold today. Ever since Rio 2016, when I took silver, that time I said that I would get the gold in Tokyo and I would collect it.”