Art and Culture

Gold Medalist Lawal Didn’t Know She Claimed New Games Record 

todayAugust 2, 2022

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*19-year-old Adebukola wins another weightlifting bronze

Duro Ikhazuagbe 

Nigeria’s Rafiatu Folashade Lawal who won Team Nigeria’s second gold medal at the ongoing 22nd Commonwealth Games in Birmingham claimed yesterday she didn’t know her lift in the women’s 59kg weightlifting event was a game’s record.

Lawal, 25, triumphed with a new Games record of 206kg from her snatch and clean and jerk lifts on Sunday to win the gold while Jessica Gordon Brown of England and Canada’s Tali Darsigny settled for the silver and bronze medals respectively.

“I’m really happy because I didn’t even know I broke the record. I was only focussed on winning the gold medal,” she told BBC Africa Sports yesterday.

She however have the Nigerian fans who were rooting for her during the event.

“Hearing the fans (Nigerians in the crowd) really helped. Although it’s not the first time I will be facing a huge crowd, but the support really calmed my nerves,” Folashade Lawal hinted.

While admitting that the gold medal she won on Sunday means so much to her, Folashade Lawal says her parents will be proud of her latest success.

“They are always proud of me, but I think my parents will be prouder than before.”

“This Commonwealth gold means a lot to me, and I’m really excited about it because I didn’t expect it, but God did it for me.”

Lawal has already conquered the continent by picking 59kg gold at the 2019 African Games and the 2021 African Weightlifting Championships.

A gold medallist at the 2021 Commonwealth Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, she admitted her Commonwealth record was unexpected on the way to winning Nigeria’s second gold in Birmingham.

Lawal’s success in Birmingham is a positive for Africa’s most populous nation whose previous weightlifting successes at the Commonwealth Games have often been blighted by doping violations.

Speaking on the achievements so far at the Games, President of Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF), Dr Abdul Ibrahim, admits he’s on cloud nine  in Birmingham.

The youthful NWF boss who was basking in the euphoria of Monday’s  bronze medal feat by 19-year-old Islamiyat Adebukola said it is time corporate Nigeria comes to back the sports ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“We have lifters who can take on the world. I’m happy with our performance here and things can get better if we get the needed support. I urge corporate bodies to support us. In weightlifting, we are open, we are transparent and we have integrity,” Abdul noted.

Team Nigeria has won two gold medals and two bronze in weightlifting and more are likely to be won before the end of competition.

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todayAugust 2, 2022

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