Many Nigerians were subdued after the Olympic games. Instead of talk of medals, the conversation on the country’s performance revolved around instances of mismanagement and the frustration of her athletes but the story has changed with the Nigerian Paralympic team.
The Nigerian Paralympic team is doing the most and making their country proud, breaking world records and grabbing up medals, so much so that they have already caused some Nigerian twitter users to question if they should not represent the country at the next Olympic games.
With a total tally of six golds, two silvers, and one bronze medal at the time of writing this article, the Nigerian Paralympic team is 10th on the Paralympic games medal table and 1st among African countries competing at the games.
That is a great way off from the joint 78th position the country’s Olympians had gone off with at the Olympic games. Only the poorly treated football team had been able to take home a single bronze medal for the country.
Of course, the Nigerian Paralympic team did not suddenly crop up to conquer, the London 2012 team had also won the country 13 medals at that year’s paralympic games compared to the no-medal showing of the London 2012 Nigerian Olympic team. The years 2008, 2004, 2000 and 1996 also saw them coming back home with medals.
All this praise has not even included the record breakers in this year’s Paralympic games. Lauritta Onye a Nollywood actress who is also known as Laury White threw a shot put 8.40m, winning not only a gold medal but breaking a world record. Nigerian weightlifter and flag bearer at this year’s opening ceremony, Lucy Ejike, broke a world record on Sunday, winning gold with a lift of 142kg in the women’s under-61kg event.
That win made it the third time the 38-year-old Lucy Ejike had broken a world record after the wheelchair user had broken two in Beijing 2008 during the under-48kg event.
It is anyone’s guess why the story of the Nigerian Paralympic competitors is so different from the country’s Olympic athletes. Could it be that the Paralympic athletes are getting in more training? Or maybe the Nigerian Olympic athletes face a far greater challenge from other countries athletes who invest a lot preparing for the Olympic games? Like we said, it is anyone’s guess.