Nigeria’s world Para Powerlifting champion, Yakubu Adesokan, arrived Tokyo on Wednesday night to light up the Team Nigeria camp in expectation for early entry on the medals table.
Competition in Para Powerlifting at the Tokyo Paralympics starts on Thursday morning with Adesokan taking the first go in the 48kg category.
He is joined by Latifat Tijani, gold medalist at the Brazzaville 2015 Africa Games and silver medalist at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, who will also be in the women’s 45kg straight gold medal contest same day.
Adesokan, a London 2012 Paralympic and 2014 World Para Powerlifting Championships gold medalist is world favourite for gold in Tokyo, going by his record 180kg lift.
He did not come early with the rest of the team on August 14 and 21 due to circumstances unforeseen and beyond human control.
While his arrival has sent jitters on challengers from other countries, he however faces an acid test for quick recovery from the long (almost 20 hours) trip from Nigeria and the long and tiring immigration and health check processes at the Tokyo International Airport, Narita, then to match out for action by 11am the next day.
Adesokan however exuded confidence as he emerged from the departure lounge, indicating his readiness for the task.
His disposition is to make good the gold medal he lost in Rio 2016 when he missed his way to the competition venue and arrived too late for the contest.