Open main menu

Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Paralympics

Nigeria competed at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 7 September to 18 September 2016. Nigeria's delegation of 23 sportspeople was mostly composed of powerlifters, with the country sending 14 lifters to Rio. Ahead of the Rio Games, the National Sports Commission promised Paralympic medals to erase the country's Olympic shame.

Nigeria at the
2016 Summer Paralympics
Flag of Nigeria.svg
NPCNigeria Paralympic Committee
in Rio de Janeiro
Competitors23 in 3 sports
Flag bearer Lucy Ejike[1]
Ranked 17th
Summer Paralympics appearances

Nigeria had issues with qualifying a bigger team for Rio because of a lack of funding available to its elite sportspeople. This was particularly true for table tennis, one of the three sports Nigeria competed in at Rio. The other two sports were athletics and powerlifting.



Going into the Rio Games, Nigerian officials promised that the delegation would return home from Rio with medals.[2] Prior to the Games the former director of the National Sports Commission was quoted as saying that he had hopes that the performance of the country's Paralympians would, "erase the shame of the dismal showing at the Olympic Games."[3]

Sportspeople in Nigeria had difficulties in qualifying for Rio owing to a lack of funds.[2][4] Most of the funding for Nigerian Paralympic participation came from the Nigerian government, with little funding coming from the private sector.[2]

In many parts of Black Africa, people who have disabilities that include insanity, and physical disabilities such as impairments and deformities often face cultural barriers to participation because of attitudes related to their disabilities. These include beliefs that they acquired their disabilities because their parents were witches or they are wizards. Their disability is often seen as a result of a personal failing on their part. As such, there is often tremendous cultural pressure for people with physical disabilities to remain hidden and out of the public eye. In many places, they are perceived to be monsters in need of healing.[5] This is the context to which Nigerian Paralympians engage both society and sport internally, in their own country.[6]

Following the success of the Nigerian team at the Paralympics in recent cycles, there were some changes in attitudes towards people with disabilities in the country. An idealized body in a Nigerian context sometimes became a superperson in their cyborg body, overcoming problems with corruption, lack of funding and other barriers to succeed at the highest level in society.[7]


Nigeria's delegation of 23 sportspeople was mostly composed of powerlifters, with the country sending 14 lifters to Rio.[3] Lauritta Onye is a Nollywood actress who performs using the name Laury White. She appeared in the 2015 movie, "Lords of Money."[3]

Disability classificationsEdit

Every participant at the Paralympics has their disability grouped into one of five disability categories; amputation, the condition may be congenital or sustained through injury or illness; cerebral palsy; wheelchair athletes, there is often overlap between this and other categories; visual impairment, including blindness; Les autres, any physical disability that does not fall strictly under one of the other categories, for example dwarfism or multiple sclerosis.[8][9] Each Paralympic sport then has its own classifications, dependent upon the specific physical demands of competition. Events are given a code, made of numbers and letters, describing the type of event and classification of the athletes competing. Some sports, such as athletics, divide athletes by both the category and severity of their disabilities, other sports, for example swimming, group competitors from different categories together, the only separation being based on the severity of the disability.[10]


Nigeria's medal haul was more than the total earned by Nigeria's 2016 Olympic team who came away with one bronze medal, earned in men's football.[3] They finished seventeenth overall on the medal table. Their performance was the best medal wise among African nations at the 2016 Games. It was also Nigeria's best gold medal performance at a Paralympic Games since 1992, when the country made its debut.[11]

The following Nigerian competitors won medals at the Games. In the 'by discipline' sections below, medallists' names are in bold.

Medal Name Sport Event Date
  Gold Roland Ezuruike Powerlifting Men's 54 kg 9 September
  Gold Paul Kehinde Powerlifting Men's –65 kg 10 September
  Gold Lauritta Onye Athletics Women's shot put F40 11 September
  Gold Lucy Ejike Powerlifting Women's 61 kg 11 September
  Gold Ndidi Nwosu Powerlifting Women's –73 kg 12 September
  Gold Bose Omolayo Powerlifting Women's -79 kg 12 September
  Gold Josephine Orji Powerlifting Women's +86 kg 15 September
  Silver Latifat Tijani Powerlifting Women's –45 kg 9 September
  Silver Esther Oyema Powerlifting Women's –55 kg 10 September
  Bronze Nnamdi Innocent Powerlifting Men's –72 kg 11 September
  Bronze Eucharia Iyiazi Athletics Women's discus throw F57 15 September


Nigeria had athletes competing in athletics in Rio.[2] Lauritta Onye set a world record in the women's F40 shot put with a throw of 8.40m. Her performance earned her a gold medal.[3]

Athlete Events Heat Semifinal Final
Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank
Lovina Onyegbule 100 m T11 12.70 4 N/A Did not advance


Roland Ezuruike, gold medal winning powerlifter in Rio for the 2016 Games.
Abdulazeez Ibrahim in Rio for the Paralympic Games.

Nigeria had 14 athletes competing in powerlifting in Rio.[2] Lucy Ejike competed in the women's under 61 kg event, winning gold with a world record lift of 142 kg.[3]

Athlete Event Total lifted Rank
Yakubu Adesokan Men's –49 kg DNS -
Roland Ezuruike Men's –54 kg 200 kg  
Paul Kehinde Men's –65 kg 220 kg  
Nnamdi Innocent Men's –72 kg 210 kg  
Tolu-Lope Taiwo Men's –80 kg 200 kg 5th
Opeyemi Jegede Men's –88 kg 200 kg 5th
Abdulazeez Ibrahim Men's –97 kg 215 kg 6th
Nsini Ben Women's –41 kg NMR -
Latifat Tijani Women's –45 kg 106 kg  
Esther Oyema Women's –55 kg 127 kg  
Lucy Ejike Women's –61 kg 142 kg  
Ndidi Nwosu Women's –73 kg 140 kg  
Bose Omolayo Women's –79 kg 138 kg  
Josephine Orji Women's +86 kg 154 kg  

Table tennisEdit

Nigeria was represented in table tennis by Segun Toriola. These were Toriola's seventh Paralympic Games. His participation at seven Paralympic Games was a record for an African Paralympian.[12]

Nigerian table tennis players had difficulty qualifying for Rio as a result of the lack of funding to enable them to participate in qualifying events. Some table tennis players contacted Director-General of the National Sports Commission Mallam Alhassan Yakmut seeking the release of funds to enable them to attend a qualifying event in Morocco in October 2015. Nasiru Bello, Faith Obiorah and Philomena Konwe all had their qualifying impacted by funding issues related to attending the event.[4]

Nigerian table tennis was still going to be represented in Rio despite the other issues: Cecilia Arinye was selected as an umpire for the Paralympic Games in table tennis.[13]

Athlete Event Group Matches Round 1 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final / BM
Rank Opposition
Emmanuel Chinedu Nick Singles class 4   Thomas (FRA)
L 0–3
  Kim (KOR)
L 0-3
3 Did not advance
Athlete Event Group Matches Round 1 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final / BM
Rank Opposition
Faith Obiora Singles class 5   Gu (CHN)
L 0–3
  Wei (TPE)
W 3–2
2 Q N/A   Zhang (CHN)
L 3–0
Did not advance

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Stevens, Samuel (12 September 2016). "Lucy Ejike Smashes World Record Three Times to Win Gold Medal for Nigeris". Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Nigeria: Paralympics Committee Assures Nigerians of Medals At Rio Games". All Africa. Vanguard. August 22, 2016. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Nigeria's Nollywood winner and other Paralympic surprises". BBC News. 2016-09-13. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  4. ^ a b "Paralympic qualifiers: Nigerian para-table tennis athletes beg NSC for fund". Nigerian Tribune. 22 September 2015. Archived from the original on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  5. ^ Gilbert, Keith; Schantz, Otto J.; Schantz, Otto (2008-01-01). The Paralympic Games: Empowerment Or Side Show?. Meyer & Meyer Verlag. ISBN 9781841262659.
  6. ^ Thomas, Gareth Martin and Banks, Tim (2013). ''We Aren't Racing a Fair Race': Rawls, Sen, and the Paralympic Games'. Sociological Research Online 18(3)14 <
  7. ^ Okoyea, Florence (2014). "Does Africa Dream of Androids?". Disability and the Global South. 1 (1): 64–84.
  8. ^ "Paralympics categories explained". ABC. 3 September 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Making sense of the categories". BBC Sport. 6 October 2000. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  10. ^ "A-Z of Paralympic classification". BBC Sport. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Nigeria are Africa's best at Paralympics | Kwesé". Kwese Sports. 2016-09-19. Archived from the original on 2016-10-26. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
  12. ^ Africa's record Olympian: How I made it to seven games, BBC, August 12, 2016, retrieved October 25, 2016
  13. ^ "AFRICAN UMPIRES FOR RIO 2016 OLYMPIC, PARALYMPIC GAMES". ITTF Africa. 29 December 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2016.