Lifter Lawal the Golden Girl

• Umoafia win gold, bronze

Team Nigeria ended Day 3 of the ongoing 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in stunning style after claiming two more medals to move up on the event’s medals table on Sunday, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

A few hours after Edidiong Umoafia claimed a bronze medal in the men’s 67kg weightlifting event at NEC Hall 1 on Sunday morning, another weightlifter Rafiatu Lawal won Team Nigeria’s second gold medal in the women’s 59kg category.

Lawal clinched gold with a total lift of 206kg – 110kg in snatch and 116kg in Clean and Jerk – to win the women’s 59kg weightlifting event and also set a new Commonwealth Games record.

The Nigerian successfully lifted 90kg in her first attempt, set a Commonwealth Games record and went right on top of the standings in the Snatch event.

Umoafia had given Nigeria her second medal in Birmingham, after lifting 290kg to finish third behind 19-year-old Lalrinnunga Jeremy from India, who lifted a total of 300kg to emerge winner and claim the gold medal, while Samoa’s Vaipava Ioane finished second to claim the silver medal with a lift of 293kg.

Also, Nigeria’s men’s team table tennis team has advanced to the semi-finals of the event.

The Nigerians, who finished their group unbeaten on Saturday, started Sunday’s quarter-final Team Event on a losing note as duo Olajide Omotayo and Bode Abiodun suffered a 3-1 loss to Malaysia’s Javen Choong and Qi Wong in the doubles.

The Nigerian pair won the opening set 11-6 but lost the remaining 12-10, 12-10, 11-7.

Aruna then restored parity for Nigeria as he defeated Chee Leong 3-1 in the second game.

Aruna, who is making his third appearance at the Commonwealth Games, and is in search of his first-ever gold medal at the event, defeated Leong 11-9 in the first set, but lost the second set 11-6 before bouncing back in style to seal victory with an 11-4, 11-5 win in the third and fourth sets respectively.

In the third game, Bode Abiodun couldn’t withstand the firepower of Qi Wong, as he lost in three straight sets 12-10, 14-12, 11-5, to give Malaysia a 2-1 lead.

Nigeria however drew level again for the second time in the quarter-final through Omotayo, who romped to a 3-1 win over Leong in the fourth game.

The African Games champion won the first set 11-8 but lost the second 11-9. He, however, bounced back in the remaining two sets to win 11-7, 11-6 and draw Nigeria level for the second time in the keenly contested tie.

Aruna then sealed Nigeria’s place in the last four despite coming from a set down to beat Choong 3-1 in the decisive game. He lost 11-7 but bounced back to win 11-8, 11-5, 11-9.

Nigeria join Singapore, who defeated Canada, in the semis, which hold on Monday.

Table tennis team battle India in semis

The table tennis team play India in a game that will hold at the show Court 1 inside The NEC Hall 3.

Sunday’s victory over Malaysia means Nigeria will appear in the semi-final of the men’s table tennis for three consecutive times having done so in 2014 and 2018.

There was more good news to come for Team Nigeria as Adeyinka Benson defeated Ghanaian Abubakari Quartey in the over 71kg-75kg of the men’s boxing event to book a place in the quarter-finals.

In Sunday’s middleweight round of 16 contest, Benson edged Quartey three points to two to reach the last eight.

Benson will now take on Sam Hickey of Scotland who beat Kyghan Mortley from Saint Lucia in the quarter-finals.


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