Nigerian powerlifter Lucy Ogechukwu Ejike was the most eyecatching woman on Wednesday's competition at Beijing Paralympics, not only because of the gold medal, but also her surprising performance.
The 31-year-old, winner of the women's 44kg category in 2004 Athens Paralympics, broke the world record of the 48kg category two times to win the gold. Her winning mark was 130kg, while the old world record was 118kg held by Bian Jianxin of China.
"I like the feeling of breaking the world record," she said. "Before I came here I planned to break the world record. In Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, I was competing in the 44kg category and I broke the world record three times. This time I moved to the 48kg category, as I did in Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, I set a world record, broke it, set it again and broke it again."
Beijing Paralympics is the third Paralympics for Ejike, who made her first in 2000 Sydney Paralympics and was the silver medallist in the 44kg category.
Wearing a pink shirt, Ejike seemed quite confident during the competition and improved the world record to 125kg in her first lift, and renewed it to 130kg in her second attempt.
The gold medalist was very happy to share her experience, "My secret of always breaking world record is discipline and hard working," she said.
The hercules tried 137.5kg in her third lift, but failed. "To break the world record twice in a day is good enough for me," said Ejike.
The world record of women's 44kg is also held by Ejike, which is 127kg. She thought her new world record would stand long. "The world record I set in 44kg is still there, and maybe it will be the same for 48kg. But if I am still in this category, I will break it myself one day. My personal best is 142kg in training."
Though has to use a wheelchair due to polio, Ejike has never lost her passion for life. "I can go anywhere like everybody else, and I really like powerlifting" she said. "I love bright colors, which makes me much happier. Pink is my color."
Russia's Olesva Lafina effortlessly lifted 112.5 and 115kg in her first two attempts to win the silver medal, but made a no-lift in her third attempt at 122.5kg. The bronze went to Souhad Ghazouani of France in 112.5kg.