Powerlifter Tijani wins Africa's first Paralympic gold

Latifat Tijani
Tijani is a former hairdresser but quit in 2017 to focus on her training

Nigerian powerlifter Latifat Tijani has become the first African to win gold at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics as she triumphed in the 45kg final.

Tijani outperformed Cui Zhe of China and Justyna Ozdryk of Poland, who finished second and third respectively, in a hard-fought final.

Tijani put up a scintillating performance after her first lift of 105kg was disallowed.

The Ogun state-born athlete came back strong with her second attempt of 105kg and her third attempt at 107kg being capped with 117kg in her fourth lift - close to the world record of 118kg.

"I was crying - I was in tears when I lost 105 and the second time, I was getting 105 again," the Nigerian said.

"The third time I go 110 and China I see 110. I told my coach, 'this is war, we must do something about this'. I must get the gold.

"My coach said I should go and fight for gold. I talked to myself: 'what is wrong with you, why are you losing 105, I must catch it'. And I got it."

Tijani is a former hairdresser, but quit the job in 2017 to focus on powerlifting.

She said that a gold medal can "change my life."

The medal is Nigeria's 71st medal in Paralympics.

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