Team Nigeria hope of early entry on the medals table at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Paralympics has been dashed as Yakubu Adesokan failed to reach the podium in the finals of his -49 class in para powerlifting event on Thursday morning.
Adesokan returned fourth with a lift of 155kg, conceding the podium to the trio of Qarada Omar Hamadeh of Jordan who won the gold, Le Van Cong of Vietnam, silver, and Mamnadov Parvin of Azerbaijan, bronze.
After lifting 155kg in his first and second attempt, Yakubu attempted but failed 156kg in the third. He desperately moved for 161kg in subsequent attempt to bridge the gap but also faltered.
Both Qarada and Le Cong made final lifts of 173kg but Qarada gained advantage with more points from earlier lifts to edge Le Cong.
The result means they exchanged their positions from the Rio 2016 Games in which Le Cong won the gold with a 181kg while Qarada finished in silver with 177kg.
President of the Nigeria Para Powerlifting Federation, Ruel Ishaku, said he saw Adesokan’s difficulty ahead but there was nothing anyone could do about it.
“We tried all we could to have Yakubu come to Tokyo earlier but it didn’t work. He landed in Tokyo on Wednesday night after the very long flight and only completed the immigration and customs procedures around after 12 midnight before heading to the Games Village. He had only about three hours rest before proceeding to the competition which was scheduled for 11am.
“Certainly his nerves, muscles and body clock needed more time to adjust. He has lifted 180kg in times past and if he had had a little more time to rest he would have made the podium.”
Ishaku says however that Adesokan’s failure would not affect the determination of the remaining nine Powerlifters.
“The rest nine lifters are in good physical shape and in high spirit. They have been around and well rested and we are hoping they will dig out the medals.”
As at the time of filing this report, Latifat Tijani was preparing to go for the women’s -45kg event scheduled for 4.30pm (Tokyo time).