“Paralympic gold is considered the greatest prize in Paralympic sport, but to win a gold medal, you have to compete and beat the best lifters in the world”
Great Britain’s world champion powerlifter Ali Jawad will be biding his time in his attempt to reclaim the men’s up to 59kg world record, taken by Egyptian powerhouse Sherif Othman in March.
Jawad, who is in Mexico City for the 2015 IPC Powerlifting Americas Open Championships which start on Sunday (26 April), is instead focused on preparing for Rio 2016 which begin in 500 days’ time.
“Othman’s performance in Dubai was one of the best performances in IPC Powerlifting history, and his lift of 210kg will be hard to beat,” Jawad said. “I have my own individual aims that all lead to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I don’t think I’ll be ready to challenge for the world record at this time.”
Jawad had lifted a world record of 194kg at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in August. That mark, however, was broken by Othman at the IPC Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai, UAE, in March, where he added 16kg to the mark.
It was the first competition in the heavier weight category for Othman, who owns two Paralympic gold medals in the men’s up to 56kg class.
Unintimidated by Othman
But Jawad is not rushing to take down his new rival. For now, the British standout is focused on reaching the 200kg mark at Mexico City 2015 on his road to Rio 2016.
“The Americas Open is really important for me to cement my place among the top eight lifters in the world rankings, which is required to qualify for Rio 2016,” Jawad said. “I have been working really hard to secure a competition personal best. The ultimate dream would be to lift 200kg in Mexico.”
Jawad expects to be able to challenge for the world record again in 2016. In the meantime, though, he appreciates having strong competition from Othman to keep him focused.
“Paralympic gold is considered the greatest prize in Paralympic sport, but to win a gold medal, you have to compete and beat the best lifters in the world,” Jawad said. “It is a pleasure that I am in a situation that allows me to challenge for a gold medal, but Othman will start as the overwhelming favorite.”
Full steam ahead
Though Jawad approaches his training one competition at a time, he knows all roads lead to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
At London 2012, Jawad narrowly missed the podium to finish a disappointing fourth. Rio 2016 is an opportunity for redemption on the world stage – and he is doing everything he can to prepare for the challenge.
“For an average day of training, it’s literally: wake up, breakfast, morning training, lunch, afternoon training, dinner, sleep,” Jawad said. “All year round, everything I do is geared toward making me a better lifter.”
Jawad’s first opportunity to test his training along the road to Rio will come on Monday (27 April) from 12pm (CDT) at Mexico City 2015.
All competitions will be shown live at Mexico-City-2015.com alongside live results from Sunday, gathering over 120 lifters from 25 countries for the first regional powerlifting Championships in the Americas.