Dubai 2023: Feifei breaks silver streak in style, Iran takes two golds

Chinese sets new world record in the final lift to clinch her first ever World title, while Gharibshahi and Aminzadeh dominate men's heavyweight categories 26 Aug 2023
Medallists on podium
Iran's Ahmad Aminzadeh defended his men's over 107 kg title with a lift of 155 kg and continued the legacy of Siamand Rahman.
ⒸMark Madrid / DCPD
By World Para Powerlifting

China’s Zheng Feifei ended her six-year-old silver medal jinx with a record-breaking show at the Dubai 2023 Para Powerlifting World Championships on Friday (25 August).

Feifei, who finished in second place at the last three Worlds, finally broke the silver medal streak not just with a gold but breaking the Asian record thrice and setting a new world record for the women's up to 86k category (158 kg) at the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor city. 

Thrilling contest

In an exhilarating contest, the lead exchanged hands several times with Dubai 2023 set to witness the same podium of Tbilisi 2021. The drama has just begun and there were many surprises in store. 

Nigeria’s Paralympic, world and Commonwealth Games champion Folashade Oluwafemiayo faltered in her final lift – a world record attempt of 156 kg - to settle for 152 kg and bronze medal. It was when Ukraine’s Natali Oliinyk – Tokyo 2020 silver medallist in the women’s up to 79kg – rose to top with her successful third lift of 153 kg. Oliinyk's efforts in fact broke the European record three times.

But Fefei, the powerlifter from Handan, grabbed the limelight with her final lift of 154 kg. She grew in confidence after all three clear lifts and attempted the world record of 158 kg in the Powerlift, only to emerge the winner.

“I achieved what I came for in Dubai. I wasn’t surprised by my performance, and I want to repeat the success of the World Championships at the Paris 2024 Paralympics.” Feifei, who will also be defending her Asian Para Games title in Hangzhou in October.

Iran's golden start

China’s incredible show was matched by Iran’s heavyweight lifters as they clinched two gold medals to put Iran on the medals table.

In men’s over 107 kg, Ahmad Aminzadeh defended his title in style with his second successful lift of 155 kg and continued the legacy of Siamand Rahman, who holds the world record at 310 kg achieved at Rio 2016. For Amanzadeh, it was his second Worlds title after Tbilisi 2021, and he is already eyeing a gold medal at Paris 2024 Paralympics.

“I am so pleased to win my second gold at the World Championships. Although I had some issues with my shoulder before the championships, I was able to come to Dubai and bring glory for my country. Many thanks to my coach who has always supported me,” said Aminzadeh who finished ahead of compatriot Mahdi Sayadi (246 kg) and Jordan’s Jamil Elshebli (237 kg).

Strength and class

Before Amanzadeh’s show, compatriot Aliakbar Gharibshahi gave Iran its first gold at the Dubai 2023 World Para Powerlifting Championships. 

In an exciting men’s under 107 kg event, Gharibshahi retained his Worlds title with a successful lift of 248 kg, just one kilo above Mongolia's Paralympic champion Sodnompiljee Enkhbayar (247 kg). Ukraine's Anton Kriukov claimed the bronze with a 244 kg effort.  

"In the last few years, I have worked very hard, and the results are paying off. Paris 2024 Paralympics are one of the most important goals for me. And I will try my best to achieve the gold," said Gharibshahi, who also holds the world record in the category at 254 kg achieved at the Dubai 2022 Fazza World Cup. 

After three days of elite competitions, China are on top with five medals that included four gold and one silver followed by Iran. Great Britain and Vietnam share the third place with one gold and one bronze medals.

Where to watch?

The Dubai 2023 Para Powerlifting World Championships is streamed live on World Para Powerlifting Facebook channel and Paralympics YouTube channel.

Complete schedule and results of the competitions are available here.