Esther Ogechika Nworgu (Miss), is a native of Umuaka-Asa, Ukwa-West L.G.A in Abia State, she is based in Port Harcourt. In a conversation with Smith Nwokocha (Port Harcourt Wakawaka Blog); she shares her story and journey as Gold Medalist.
According to her, some families don’t like their children that are physically challenged to socialized. Esther was not born crippled, she has started associating with people, before she experienced her current situation of being physically challenged. It wasn’t caused by Polio or Injection, it happened at the age of eight (8), she was not ill, rather, she just slumped and that was it till date. Her parents did the much they could to get her back to her feet, medically and through prayers, to ensure she lives. Esther was paralyzed for years before sitting down again.
In the family of five (5), she is the third (3) child, they are four (4) girls and a boy. In her family, they do not segregate, all members of her family are physically able. When she was still on sick-bed, her teacher did something that enabled her academic exposure, the teacher comes to the sick-bed to teach her daily, even on the sick-bed, she took first (1st) position in school. After her recovery stage, she went back to school, unfortunately, she was bullied at school, while she is still in primary. Even, when people assumed that, there is free Education for the “Physically challenged”, she was paying her school fees from hand-work. Though, her Father passed, while she was still in primary school.
In Secondary School, she paid equal school fees with those that are not physically challenged. In JSS3 precisely, the bullying on her became very serious; people began to speak to her mother, to abandoned her, that, she is a cursed child. But, her mother, keep telling them that this girl is my child and she is a human-being that will live out her dreams on earth. Esther promised her mother, that, she will make her proud in the future. In JSS3 (Junior Secondary School), Esther’s immediate sister dropped out of school for her to continue with her Education for Junior WAEC (West African Examination Certificate). Before her Senior School Certificate Examination (S.S.C.E), she started selling Articles, Biscuits and items of such. She used the money earned for her S.S.C.E. Then, she realized “Life is not a Bed of Roses”. After her S.S.C.E, she continued with Business and said to herself, if she can further her education, she will go in for “Mass Communication”.
In 2011, she started working as a Typist, she loves reading and suddenly a man approached her, who happens to be a teacher and asked her, if she can teach, she said yes, thereafter, she started teaching as an instructor at her level and at a point she used her shop for teaching. She said this “I PICTURED MY FUTURE”, she started asking herself, pertinent questions. Two of her sisters got married and she asked herself, will I always go to them for feeding. While, she was working as a Computer personnel, it never worked for her. Up till 2013, when she went to Umuahia, which was her first time to attend “DISABLE MEETING” then, right now it’s called “PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED MEETING”. She dressed very well, she didn’t see herself as though she was physically challenged, in her words: “I KEEP PICTURING THAT, I WOULDN’T BE THE FIRST PERSON OR LAST PERSON, THAT WILL BE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED”.
Furthermore, her immediate Elder sister, keep blaming herself for Esther’s situation, accompanied her to “ADVOCACY FOR WOMEN WITH DISABILITY INITIATIVES (AWWDI) and a member of AWWDI invited Esther to their meeting. In her words again, Esther said: “I HAVE THE NATURAL LEARNING ABILITY; I CAN USE WORDS TO CREATE MANY SENTENCES”. She was chosen to HEAD her COMMUNITY CHAPTER and was asked to bring women that are physically challenged and teach them to socialize. She said to the women; “Staying in your comfort-zone will not help, but know this, there is Life after Disability”. Right inside the hall, after the Meeting, a woman approached her mentioned, if she has heard of “SPECIAL SPORTS”, and she responded No, she invited Esther to State Stadium Umuahia, and seeing many of kind training , Esther tried many fields, but choose to specialized in “PARA-POWER LIFTING”. There is something that encouraged her to join the team and that was a write-up at the door-post of the Gym and it written boldly “NO PAIN, NO GAIN”. She had to sit down and digest the words and said to herself; YES, THIS IS IT, THIS IS WHAT I WANT.
In 2014, that was the first time she weight-lift. in Lifting field, “THERE IS NO WOMAN, IT IS A WOMAN WITH A MAN’S HEART”, that is what you hear. During this period, she had joined the Para-Power Lifting Team fully, the pains that comes with the exercise was much and she was advised not to take Painkiller(s) or Drugs. In her words, “I realized the road to Success is not an easy one”. “IN EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING, DETERMINATION COMES FIRST”, “IF YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN, YOU WILL SUCCEED”. The road was so rough and tough, but she perseveres, and finally left home, just to make sure, she tests the reality of life. From the lessons of life, it made her understand that without such experiences, her STORY-BOOK will not be complete.
After all these years of tolls, in 2018, her STAR finally shines out and from that moment till date, she has been growing from “Grace to Greater Grace”. 2018, was her first outing in NATIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL and she was Silver Medalist, which qualified her for INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (LAGOS 2019) which was a GOLD MEDALIST and at ABUJA 2020 PARA POWERLIFTING WORLD CUP, she won it as a GOLD MEDALIST. ESTHER is a “WORLD JUNIOR RECORD HOLDER AND AFRICAN SENIOR RECORD HOLDER” and for her, to crown it all, she is “A WOMAN WITH A MAN’S HEART”.
Esther Ogechika Nworgu has these final words for readers: “As a woman, who’s living with physical challenge, I see myself as other normal women despite the odds and huddles of life. The difference between myself and any other person is the “WHEEL-CHAIR”, so if I can go this far, ma’am/sir, you can do more”. Just challenge yourself and determine to do it and you will see it working for you. It takes God’s grace to be great. “NO PREDICAMENT IS AN EXCUSE TO GET TO YOUR PEAK”.