Egypt's Sherief Othman, previously a shot putter, set the current world record in the new -54kg category at an event in Dubai last year, but knows he can do better than that.
The men’s -54kg competition at the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships on Sunday (6 April) is expected to be a dog fight with two reigning Paralympic champions taking part as well as the event’s European champion.
Prior to the unrolling of new IPC Powerlifting weight categories, Egypt’s Sherif Othman and China’s Feng Qi won gold in the men’s -52kg and -56kg competitions, respectively, at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and both will be at the Championships in Dubai, UAE.
Othman, previously a shot putter, set the current world record in the new -54kg category at an event in Dubai last year, but knows he can do better than that.
He lifted 205kg en route to gold in the men’s -56kg category at the 2010 IPC Powerlifting World Championships and 197kg to win gold at London 2012.
Qi raised 163kg at the November’s IPC Powerlifting Asian Open Championships, putting him ninth on last year’s world rankings, which were led by Othman (181kg), Vietnam’s Binh An Nguyen (170kg) and Iran’s Samad Abbasi (168kg).
Qi’s story is inspirational, having started lifting at age 11, five years after contracting polio. His father made him a powerlifting bench with bricks, and he used a barbell with an iron rod so he could start practicing from home at a young age.
Also challenging Othman and Qi in Dubai will be Russian 22-year-old Vladimir Krivulya, a Paralympic bronze medallist in the -52kg category and reigning European champion in the -54kg category. At the 2013 IPC Powerlifting Open European Championships in his home country, Krivulya pushed a Europe-record 170kg, and this year he sits at No. 4 on the world rankings.