Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe

At the International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports World Junior Games at Stoke Mandeville, UK, a 23-year-old Paralympian and Powerlifter from Ahmadu Bello University, Emmanuel Godwin, won a Gold medal to make its sole sponsor, Sir Emeka Offor, The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) and the Federal Republic of Nigeria proud. 

Mr. Godwin bench-pressed a total of 145kg, clearing the bar in top form and outclassing fellow competitors from United Arab Emirates and The Republic of Kazakhstan. The powerlifting session, which took place on August 6 at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium (SMS), attracted a sizeable mixed group of spectators, both able and physically challenged. 

The powerlifting bar was stacked at the beginning of the session with an initial dead weight of 30kg. Thereafter, each new round saw an increment of 20kg. “It is not just the size of the weight that we consider, we also pay attention to the form of a power-lifter and his or her ability to maintain a perfect form through the clearing of the bar with the corresponding weight,” a judge quietly disclosed to SEOF official during the contest.

“There are strict guidelines under the laws of the International Powerlifting Federation,” the Judge continued. “                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

“For instance, after receiving the bar at arms length, the lifter must hold his elbows in a locked position until the signal to begin is given by the referee. Then after, the lifter must lower the bar to the chest before lifting upward with both arms stretched evenly and steady.” 

Sir Offor, who was present at the closing dinner celebration sponsored and hosted by his Foundation, congratulated the IWAS President, Paul DePace, other officials, parents and athletes for a memorable sporting outing marking the 10th anniversary of the ongoing Paralympic movement He said, “I am very pleased to be associated with IWAS and I share in their aspirations to promote unity, friendship and sportsmanship among persons with disability. I am also deeply moved to be standing here, at this historic venue in Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement to commemorate with you, the 10th International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports World Junior Games. 

Like all of you, I believe that we have a tremendous ability even in our disability. I believe that we are "Differently Able." Whatever the able bodied person can do, we can do it and even better. No matter the form of disability we face, we can still dream, we can aspire to great heights and we can compete favorably in today's world. 

In his closing remarks, he sounded words of encouragement to all participants. “To all athletes and future Paralympians, through these games, you have shown amazing courage. You have demonstrated great strength, friendship, enviable camaraderie (solidarity) and a determination to win. So, keep winning and do not despair!”