The biggest ever IPC Powerlifting World Championships will get underway on Saturday (5 April) in Dubai, UAE, with more athletes competing than ever before in an event that will be live streamed at Paralympic.org.
Featuring around 360 lifters from over 60 countries, including all 20 current senior world record holders and over 30 medallists from London 2012, the competition is evidence of the incredible growth in the sport with more athletes than at London set to begin their qualification for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Amongst those competing is Egypt’s double Paralympic champion Sherif Othman. Speaking to Paralympic.org during a break in his gruelling six-days-per-week training schedule, Othman said he was confident of smashing his own +54kg world record of 181kg:
“If everything goes well I will break my world record and I am aiming for over 200kg. If it’s less than 200kg I will be very disappointed because my training is very good.”
Othman claims to have lifted 202kg in training back home in Egypt.
Nigeria, notoriously dominant in powerlifting and the holders of four out of the 20 senior world records, have sent a delegation which includes the duo of Paralympic champions and record holders Loveline Obiji (women’s -86kg) and Esther Oyema (women’s -55kg).
“We have been training very hard to maintain our position, to make sure we get what we want,” Obiji said.
One of the biggest rivalries of the competition will come in the men’s +107kg on the last day of competition (11 April) with Iranian teammates Mansour Pourmirzaei, the current world record holder, and Paralympic champion Siamand Rahman fighting to take the world title and break the 300kg mark.
Pourmirzaei said: “I have had a plan for 10 years to reach that goal. I do not feel that there is anyone else apart from Siamand that can challenge me.”
Other events to look out for on the livestream include both the women’s -41kg on 5 April and the -61kg taking place on 8 April.
In the -41kg, Turkey’s Nazmiye Muslu remains the only female lifter to have reached the 100kg barrier in her weight category.
Mexican Paralympic champion Amalia Perez, on a comeback from an injury-plagued 2013 season, will be looking to return to her previous form over current Egyptian world record holder Fatma Omar in the -61kg.
The 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships run from 5-11 April in Dubai, UAE, and are the first opportunity for athletes to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.