Lifting record in Birmingham surprises Lawal

1 week ago 358
Rafiatu Folashade Lawal in action at the Commonwealth Games in BirminghamRafiatu Folashade Lawal lifted 90kg in the snatch and 106kg in the clean and jerk to make history in her weight category
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

Nigeria's Rafiatu Folashade Lawal says her parents will be proud of her latest success after claiming a Commonwealth Games gold medal in the women's 59kg weightlifting.

"They are always proud of me, but I think my parents will be prouder than before," Lawal told BBC Sport.

"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 third gold in Birmingham.

"I'm really happy because I didn't even know I broke the record. I was only focussed on winning the gold medal," she added.

"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."

A history of drugs offences

Lawal's success in Birmingham is a positive for Africa's most populous nation, but Nigeria's powerlifting successes at the Commonwealth Games has often been blighted by doping violations.

The Nigerian Weightlifting Federation was suspended for repeated doping violations by the International Weightlifting Federation in 2001 and banned from competing in the following year's Manchester Games.

Back in 2014, 16-year-old weightlifter Chika Amalaha was stripped of her gold medal after failing a drugs test.

Like Amalaha, who is suspended until 2027, weightlifters Blessed Udoh, Elizabeth Onuah and Balikis Otunla were also handed long-term bans for doping offences.

Source Article