Nigeria will be facing a strong challenge from Paralympic and World Championships medallists in order to keep its Commonwealth Games domination when Para powerlifting takes the stage at Birmingham 2022 on Thursday (4 August).
Forty athletes (20 men and 20 women) representing 16 countries will compete at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC Arena) in four medal events.
Nigeria will be defending its gold medal sweep as the African nation triumphed in all four categories in contention at Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018.
The Birmingham 2022 competition will be held in a specific format including different categories of weight in two female and two male events. To ensure that everyone has a chance to win, results will be calculated with a coefficient formula.
This formula will take into account the bodyweight and the lift attempt weight. It will guarantee a fair competition between all the athletes, whatever category they come from.
This point is especially important in relation to the athletes’ results as, for the first time at Commonwealth Games, records can be established and recognised officially by World Para Powerlifting.
Women's events preview
The women’s up to 61 kg (lightweight) event will open the Para powerlifting programme at Birmingham 2022.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion in the women’s up to 45kg category, Nigeria’s Latifat Tijani will be eyeing her first Commonwealth Games medal.
Hosts England have two names among the medal contenders. Olivia Broome will be making her debut at the Games and keen to follow up on her impressive 2021 season when she picked a silver at the Worlds in Tbilisi, Georgia and a bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Zoe Newson is a two-time Paralympic bronze medallist (London 2012 and Rio 2016) who also finished third at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Double Paralympic champion in the women’s up to 79 kg at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, Nigeria’s Bose Omolayo will be targeting her first gold at the Games in the women’s over 61kg (heavyweight) following a silver at Glasgow 2014.
Her compatriot Folashade Oluwafemiayo is another one to watch. She won the women’s up to 86 kg at Tokyo 2020 and will be making her Commonwealth Games debut. Oluwafemiayo also took her third consecutive world title in a row at Tbilisi 2021.
Kenya’s Joyce Wambui Njuguna will be eager to return to the podium as the bronze medallist from Glasgow 2014.
This event will be the first of two for Vanuatu’s Ellie Enock, who later on Saturday (August 6) will also be competing in the women’s shot put F55/57 in Para athletics.
Men’s events preview
The men’s up to 72 kg (lightweight) will be the first of the two male competitions to take centre stage at the NEC on Wednesday hosting 10 powerlifters from eight different nationalities.
Malaysia’s Para powerlifting star Bonnie Bunyau Gustin was just a newcomer four years ago when he finished in fourth place at his Commonwealth Games debut in Australia. Since then, he has become a two-time world champion and has a Paralympic gold to his name.
His country’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony in Birmingham, Gustin will have to beat Nigeria’s Nnambi Innocent (Rio 2016 bronze medallist in the category) and Paramjeet Kumar, who became India’s first powerlifter to clinch a World Championships medal in the men’s up to 49kg at Tbilisi 2021.
The men’s over 72kg (heavyweight) will wrap up the Para powerlifting programme with a Scottish medal hopeful in action.
Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist in the men’s up to 72kg, Micky Yule was Scotland’s flag bearer at the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony. In his third Commonwealth Games, he is still in search of his first podium.
The defending champion from Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018, Nigeria’s Abdulazeez Ibrahim will have a compatriot on his way to a third consecutive triumph.
Ikechukwu Obichukwu will be competing in his first major international event since 2014 but has fond memories of his previous visits to Great Britain as London 2012 Paralympic silver medallist.
Complete entry lists, schedule and results from Para powerlifting at Birmingham 2022 are available here.