Joao Franca Junior got the World Para Powerlifting Americas Open Championships off to a thrilling start as he broke an Americas record on the first day of competition (6 December) in Bogota, Colombia.
After two failed attempts, the Brazilian finally lifted 141kg to take the men’s up to 49kg continental crown. “I dedicate this victory to my country. I am very happy for having won this medal,” said Franca Junior.
He was followed by Colombia’s Johnny Morales Glez, who set a junior Americas record of 113kg, and Brazil’s Lucas dos Santos (112kg).
Two sets of medals are awarded in each event at the Championships. The top three Americas powerlifters win medals for being the best in their region. As well as that, the top three powerlifters overall also receive gold, silver and bronze.
In the overall podium, India’s Farman Basha (125kg) claimed silver behind Franca Junior, while Morales Glez secured bronze.
Double delight for Brazil
Parapan American champion Maria Rizonaide da Silva’s second lift of 79kg was enough for her to reach the top of the podium in the women’s up to 45kg. It was an improvement for the Brazilian after ending third at the latest edition of the Americas Open Championships in 2015.
Mayra Hernandez Godinez gave Mexico their first medal of the day as she sealed silver after clearing the bar at 74kg. Venezuelan Oriana Teran (67kg) collected bronze.
Shocks and surprises
There were two surprise winners to round off day one in Bogota. The women’s up to 41kg had a thrilling ending with Colombian Cristina Poblador beating Parapan American champion and Worlds silver medallist Leidy Rodriguez thanks to her last lift of 85kg.
The Cuban, who had lifted 85kg in her second attempt, failed to clear the bar at 87kg in her last and had to settle for silver due to a higher body weight (40.30 against 38.90).
Venezuelan junior world champion Clara Fuentes (83kg) claimed bronze.
The second gold medal for Colombia was also a shock result, this time in the men’s up to 54kg. Juan Carlos Ortiz lifted 135kg to take gold, after Parapan American silver medallist Bruno Carra failed to live up to expectations. His disappointing performance saw him fail in all three attempts to lift 165kg, meaning he missed the podium.
The Brazilian was the strongest candidate for the title, especially after taking bronze at the European Open Championships earlier this year with a 172kg lift in the up to 59kg.
Mexican 28-year-old David Montiel Caballero (122kg) and Ortiz´s compatriot Carlos Gomez (120kg) completed the podium.
Competition continues on Friday (7 December) with the men's up to 59kg and 65kg, and the women’s up to 50kg, 50kg, 61kg and 67kg.
Bogota 2018 is being shown live on World Para Powerlifting’s website and Facebook page.
Live results are available on the Bogota 2018 website.