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Nigerian powerlifter fulfills dream at Beijing Paralympics
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17:13, September 09, 2008

Nigerian Ruel Ishaku stole the limelight in the first day's powerlifting competition by winning the first gold with a new world record at the Beijing Paralympics on Tuesday.

Ishaku, 40, hoisted 167.5kg to win the gold in the men's 48 kilograms category. He lifted 169kg in his fourth attempt and broke both the world records, previously set by Wu Guoying of China at the 2007 National Games in Kunming.

"It's my dream to win a gold and break the world record," said Ishaku happily. Omar Qarada of Jordan took the silver with 162.5kg, while Eay Simay of Laos finished third in 157.5kg.

"I've been planning this gold for eight years," said Ishaku, bronze medallist of the event in the 2004 Athens Paralympics. "In the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games, I failed to win a medal due to injury. In 2004, I made a technical mistake and only finished third."

Four years ago, Simay got to the venue late because his flight was delayed. He had less time to adapt to the weather in Athens, so the result was not as expected.

It seemed that Simay won the gold with ease, but it was not the truth. "I paid a lot," he said. "I trained very hard for this gold. Last year, I injured my chest during a training and was sent to hospital. It's lucky that it didn't happen in this year."

Ishaku started powerlifting in 1991. "When I was a kid, I was interested in weightlifting. So when I heard about that powerlifting could be a sport for the disabled in 1991, I decided to have a try."

Though polio limited his body in a wheelchair, it can not limit his life. Besides powerlifting, Ishaku is also a furniture worker. "I have another job. I have a furniture design company, and I have some employees. I am a professional powerlifter as well as a carpenter."

The outgoing man burst into laughters when talking about his family. "My children said 'Daddy, Daddy just get the gold' when I called them last night," he said. "Just now I phoned my wife, she said 'what's up now?' and I said 'I just won the gold and broke the world record' and she shouted 'Yeah!'."

Source:Xinhua

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