"I feel like I could shout, I'm so happy."
On the penultimate day of powerlifting at the Games (4 September), Iran, Nigeria and Egypt added to their respective gold medal hauls.
A nerve-wracking final round decided the medals in the men’s 82.50kg category, with three competitors all vying to be top of the podium after two lifts each.
Iran’s Majid Farzin came out on top after lifting 237kg in the third round to secure Iran’s third powerlifting gold medal, having previously lifted 233kg and 235kg.
Farzin then decided to take a fourth lift out of competition but with the bar set at 244kg, he failed to set a new Paralympic record.
A delighted Farzin said: “I am so joyful and very happy to get the team's third gold. I am grateful to God for the result. The team have been trying really hard.”
In the knowledge that he weighed more than Farzin, China’s Gu Xiao Fei was forced into lifting 238kg in an attempt to win the gold with his third lift. He fell agonisingly short and had to be content with the silver medal, finishing with a best lift of 228kg.
Bronze was won by Metwaly Mathana. The Egyptian tried to match Farzin and Gu by lifting 237kg in the final round, which he failed, finishing with a best lift of 227kg.
Loveline Obiji stole the show in the day’s second event. The Nigerian opened with what proved to be a winning lift of 145kg. She failed to lift 149kg in her second and third attempts but still won Nigeria’s fifth powerlifting gold medal of the Games.
“I feel like I could shout, I'm so happy. I was speaking to my coach on the phone back in Nigeria. He's so happy,” said Obiji.
She continued: “I knew from the first day I started training that I would win gold.”
Randa Mahmoud took the silver medal. The Egyptian tried to win gold on her final lift with the bar set at 145kg, but ultimately finished with a best lift of 140kg.
The bronze medal was taken by China’s Xu Yanmei. The 34-year-old could not quite challenge Obiji and Mahmoud for weight, but managed to successfully lift 120kg, 125kg and 129kg. She narrowly edged out Mexico’s Catalina Diaz Vilchis, who finished with a best lift of 128kg in fourth.
In the day’s final event, the gold medal was won by Hany Abdelhady. The Egyptian showed his class in powerlifting at its finest, equalling the Paralympic record of 240kg in his second lift.
In his third, with the bar set at 241kg, Abdelhady successfully became the new Paralympic record holder.
He opted for a fourth attempt outside of the competition at a weight of 250.50kg. However, he valiantly failed to become the new world record holder, a record which stands at 250kg.
China’s Cai Huichao secured the silver medal. He endeared himself to the crowds with his positive demeanour from the outset and was roared on to three successful lifts at 225kg, 230kg and 233kg respectively.
Pavlos Mamalos took the bronze medal. He opened with a lift of 232kg before failing at 236kg. In his third attempt at 236kg he failed again, ensuring Cai finished in second place.