Esther Oyema and Roland Ezuruike won gold for Nigeria at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Oyema broke the world record by lifting 131kg to gold medal winner, while Ezuruike beat compatriot Paul Kehinde to the gold but did not break the world record.
Speaking after her gold medal-winning feat Oyema stated that she had to reduce her body weight by 10kg in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.
She said, “I feel so excited because it was like a film to me. I was anxious about winning GOLD at the Commonwealth Games because, after the Paralympic Games in Rio, I went to rest. I had to start the process of cutting down on my body weight because I was already in the Heavyweight class and I knew I needed a lot of hard work to shed about 10kg.” she is quoted as saying by Making of Champions.
Oyema also stated that she and her colleagues have made sacrifices and deserve to be honoured by the President.
She said, “Today I have made sacrifices to make my country proud. I have won GOLD and set a third WR. I will like to meet President Muhammadu Buhari and I want him to make us proud too.”
Oyema talked about the previous experience after international competitions, which they are easily forgotten as soon as they arrive home.
She said, “Today, everybody wants to felicitate with us but after the Games, we will be forgotten. We are not recognized despite being No.1 in the world in Para Powerlifting.”
Oyema stated that able-bodied athletes get more recognition and that the government should recognize their efforts as world record holders.
She said, “If it were the able-bodied athletes that set three WRs, I know what would be happening now, so I want the President to reward me as a woman, a fighter, and a winner because, after this, we don’t have anything to fall back on”,
Oyema and Ezuruike are among the six weightlifters who contributed to Nigeria’s medal haul from the event.
Gold medal winner Ezuruike also had his say about more recognition for para-athletes, as he expressed optimism that they will be well received by Buhari.
He said, “What they expected from us, we have given it to them, and I know that Mr. President will do something for us. Sports is all about encouragement and motivation. I think we have given them our best and we are expecting from them. I have finished my part and I want our dear President to invite us to Aso Villa for a reception. That is my dream.”
The federal government has already set out a financial reward packages for Team Nigeria medal winners at the games.
Team Nigeria has a total of 11 medals on Thursday, April 12 and are on course to register more to their medal haul, from participants across several events.