Dubai 2023: Yongkai, Yujiao warn Paris 2024 rivals with golden show

Chinese stars take world titles overcoming legends Sherif and Perez; Ahmed wins first gold for Egypt at this year's World Championships 29 Aug 2023
A male athlete celebrating on a bench press during a Para powerlifting event
Qi Yongkai changed the colour of his medal to take his first world title on Monday in the men's up to 59kg
ⒸMark Madrid / DCPD
By World Para Powerlifting

Paralympic champions Qi Yongkai and Tan Yujiao made it a memorable day for China as they emerged winners in their respective events at the Dubai 2023 World Para Powerlifting Championships on Monday (28 August).

While Yongkai clinched his first world title in the men’s up to 59kg category, Yujiao regained the gold in the women’s up to 67kg to celebrate the one year to go to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games occasion in style.

It was also a Monday of surprises in Dubai as two legends, Egypt’s Sherif Osman (men’s up to 59kg) and Mexico’s Amalia Perez (women’s up to 67kg) faltered to finish outside the medals at the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor city.

Yongkai, who started with 190kg, was smooth on the bench with three confident lifts, the final one being 194kg just a kilo ahead of El Salvador’s Herbert Aceituno, the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist.

The fight for the gold was tight as both athletes put up a powerful show with all three good lifts. But in the end, it must be one world champion.

On a disappointing note, Osman faltered in his final attempt of 189kg only to settle for the fifth place with his best lift of 187 kg. The Egyptian still holds the world record of 211 kg in the category achieved in Rio 2016 Paralympics.

“In the last two World Championships, I have tried hard and have been able to get the silver. So, I am so happy and excited to get my first gold medal today,” said Yongkai, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion.

“This medal will motivate me to work hard and defend my Paralympic medal. I want to keep moving.”  

Yujiao takes fourth title

Yujiao had three clear lifts, with her best lift of 134kg enough to fetch her the gold medal in women’s up to 67kg. She finished one kilo ahead of compatriot Liye Liao and Colombia's Bertha Cecilia Fernandez Arango (129 kg).

Mexico’s Perez too ended with 129kg but owing to her bodyweight, she took the fourth position. 

“I am very excited and happy to regain my title in Dubai,” said Yujiao, who holds the world record in the category on 140.5 kg, achieved at Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games.

“Before the Worlds, I didn’t feel very good as I had injury in my shoulders. I am happy to overcome this and produce a good show here.

“I want to win the gold and break my own world record in Paris 2024 Paralympics.”

Gold for Ahmed again

Earlier, Egypt’s Rehab Ahmed claimed her fourth Worlds title but this time in a new category of women’s up to 55 kg. Ahmed’s gold was also the first for Egypt in this edition of the Worlds.

Ahmed put up an incredible show with an effort of 130kg to finish ahead of Paralympic and world champion Mariana Shevchuk of Ukraine (126 kg) and China’s Jinping Xiao (125 kg).

Ahmed later said: “I want to win the gold and break the world record in the women’s up to 55 kg in Paris.”

In the medals table, China continues to lead with 15 medals that had eight gold, four silver and three bronze medals followed by Nigeria and Iran with two golds each.

The Dubai 2023 Para Powerlifting World Championships has two more days of action to go and you can follow it live on World Para Powerlifting Facebook channel and Paralympics YouTube channel.

Complete schedule and results of the competitions are available here.