There is no doubt that China's Guo Lingling is the favourite for the gold in the women's -41kg para powerlifting event at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, a category lower than her usual. She believes that if she can surpass her own expectations, she can beat even the toughest of opponents and win her first Paralympic gold medal in style. ‘Hard work’ is her motto and she rides on this trait to succeed when competing.
In the build up to Tokyo 2020, she has been in red hot form having set a new world record en route taking the gold in women’s -41kg at the Fazza-Dubai 2021 Para Powerlifting World Cup. It was her first competition in two years after the Nur Sultan 2019 World Para Powerlifting Championships, where she had broken her own world record two consecutive times with 117 and 118kg lifts.
“I appreciate the opportunity to compete internationally again after a two-year hiatus, and the Dubai 2021 competition was a rehearsal for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. The significance of my record is the best interpretation of the past two years of my hard training,” Lingling had said after her powerful performances at the Dubai 2021 World Cup.
Lingling added that a ‘strong mentality’ and ‘courage’ would be the most important things to succeed in Tokyo 2020. And she wants to go out with confidence to clinch her first Paralympic gold. “I hope I can stay positive and give my best efforts. The goal for the Tokyo Paralympics is to win a gold medal,” the 32-year-old affirmed.
Having started playing the sport in 2010, Lingling made a dream (international) debut at the Mexico 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships where she went on to win the women’s -45kg gold with a world record effort of 110kg.
A year later, she recreated the magic to improve her own world record with a lift of 115kg at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games. The show in Jakarta was also one of her most memorable ones. She didn’t stop there and defended her Worlds title in style with yet another world record at Nur Sultan 2019.
“I want to prove myself that I am the strongest in my category,” she said on her consecutive world record shows.
“The significance of breaking the world record is that I am able to consistently show my skills during the race and show the results that I normally do in training. I hope I can continue the momentum,” said Lingling, she has been affected by polio since as a child.
TOKYO 2020 CHALLENGE
In Japan, Lingling will have several tough opponents in her category, including Indonesia’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist and APG 2018 silver medallist Ni Nengah Widiasih and Cuba’s Lima 2019 Parapan American Games champion Leidy Rodriguez, among others.
Speaking of her training, the powerlifter said the Chinese athletes have strictly abide by the country’s epidemic prevention and control policy during their training and preparation camp for the Tokyo 2020 Games:
“We keep a social distance, wear masks, wash hands and disinfect frequently, and we have a team doctor to guide the prevention and control of the epidemic, so everyone is healthy and normal training, preparing for the competition.”
“I believe that my sweat will not flow in vain, there will be a good harvest,” she added.