The heavyweights took centre stage on Sunday for the final day of the World Para Powerlifting World Cup in Eger, Hungary, with two enormously powerful Azerbaijanis dominating the day.
European champion Elshan Huseynov was expected to perform well in the up to 107kg, and he duly delivered. He was returning to the stage where he set the then-world record in 2015, pushing 243kg. And while he could not quite manage that amount this time around, he still did enough for gold.
Huseynov lifted 225kg with his second attempt but failed on 233kg with his third. It still accounted for the second-best performance at this weight this season. Ahmed Khamis Albaloushi of UAE took silver with 198kg, while Mohd Shahmil Md Saad of Malaysia raised 191kg for bronze.
In the men’s over 107kg, another Azerbaijani was supreme. Shamo Aslanov pushed 215kg – the same weight as Khalid Al Najim from Saudi Arabia but won the gold thanks to a lesser body weight. Akaki Jintcharadze, Georgia, pocketed bronze (208kg).
Aslanov has only been lifting for two years but is highly ambitious – and has targeted gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. With this kind of start to his competitive career, do not rule it out.
Zieba shows class
The Azerbaijani aces didn’t quite do enough to lift their country to the summit of the medal rankings, though.
In the women’s over 86kg, Paralympic silver medallist Marzena Zieba kicked off her season in style. She had not competed since the 2018 European Open Championships, but a lift of 127kg showed that she has not lost any strength in that time.
Polina Katsman of Israel took silver with 110kg, as Thailand’s Panna Netsuda secured bronze with an 82kg lift.
It meant Poland, with four golds, four silvers and three bronzes, edged out Russia and Azerbaijan to be the leading nation of the weekend.
In the women’s up to 79kg, Marion Alejandra Serrano Guajardo of Chile won gold with a 107kg lift. The 19-year-old has only been powerlifting for four years, and competitively for two, and gained valuable experience towards her ultimate ambition of competing at a Paralympics.
Siti Mahmudah of Indonesia got silver (106kg) and Tzu-Hui Lin of Tapaei bronze (100kg).
Louise Sugden of Great Britain won the women’s up to 86kg category, with a lift of 115kg beating her previous season’s best. Sugden is getting stronger and will one to watch at the World Championships.
Full results from Eger are available on World Para Powerlifting’s website.