“I wanted to have an international powerlifting competition in my country for so long. This will be the best opportunity for Japanese people to enjoy this attractive and highly-competitive Para sport."
Hiroshi Miura knows will not be easy for him to reach the podium at the Mexico City 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships, with Vietnam's Paralympic champion Le Van Cong and Jordan´s Rio 2016 silver medallist Omar Sami Qarada also competing in the men's up to 49kg.
But the Japanese powerlifter has other aims; he is hoping to set a new personal best and use the event as a springboard ahead of his home 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
“I want to give my best and improve myself at Mexico City 2017,” he said. “If I do so, I will feel more confident as I prepare for Tokyo 2020.”
At Rio 2016, Miura finished fifth thanks to a 126kg lift, far from India´s fourth-placed Farman Basha, who cleared the bar at 140kg.
Mexico City 2017 will be the first time two of the biggest Para sport competitions are held together, from 30 September-6 October. More than 360 powerlifters from 65 countries will compete at the Juan de la Barrera Olympic Gymnasium.
“I am so excited that the Worlds will have both powerlifters and swimmers competing together while representing Japan,” said Miura. “It will also be important because many athletes are already preparing for Tokyo 2020 to try achieve better results than at Rio 2016.
“I was born in 1964, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in Tokyo. I feel it is my destiny to compete there.”
“I am also expecting Mexican athletes to perform successfully because it would help develop powerlifting in the country. The World Championships will not only further raise awareness of Para sports but strengthen friendship among competitors from all nations.”
In 2018, Japan will also stage the World Para Powerlifting Asian Open Championships in Kirakyushu, the first major Para powerlifting competition ever, a landmark for the sport´s history.
“I wanted to have an international powerlifting competition in my country for so long,” said Miura. “This will be the best opportunity for Japanese people to enjoy this attractive and highly-competitive Para sport.
“For the Japanese society will be important to make Kirakyushu 2018 a great success. People will understand more about powerlifting and Para sports.
“I imagine Japanese people will cheer not only for the local athletes but also for athletes from other countries.”
More information can be found on Mexico City 2017’s website.