It has been 11 years since Ukraine’s Lidiia Soloviova won a world title, after having to settle for silver at both Kuala Lumpur 2010 and Dubai 2014. But the three-time Paralympic champion will head into the women’s up to 50kg full of confidence following last year’s Games gold.
Soloviova’s quest heads another blockbuster session on day four (5 December) of the World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City.
The Ukrainian has stiff competition though. At Rio 2016, the 39-year-old cleared the bar at 107kg, just 3kg more than Egypt’s silver medallist Rehab Ahmed, who will make her Worlds debut at Mexico City 2017.
Ahmed already knows what it feels like to defeat the Ukrainian after getting the better of Soloviova at the 2016 World Cup and will be hoping for a similar performance in Mexico City. Another powerlifter to keep an eye on in this division is Vietnam’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist Thi Linh Phuong Dang.
An epic battle is also expected in the men’s up to 80kg, with Iran’s two-time Paralympic gold medallist Majid Farzin facing defending world champion Gu Xiaofei.
The Iranian will start as favourite, especially after setting a world record of 240kg at Rio 2016 to finish ahead of Xiaofei on the podium in a repeat of London 2012. But the Chinese emerged triumphant the only time they competed against each other outside the Paralympic Games, when he topped the podium at the 2014 Asian Para Games.
Nigeria’s powerlifting veteran Lucy Ejike has won three golds and two silvers over two Paralympic Games and is hoping to enjoy same success in the women’s up to 61kg at her maiden World Championships in Mexico City.
The 40-year-old already set a world record of 142kg at Rio 2016 and is ready to add the world title to her collection. Poland’s Malgorzata Halas-Koralewska, who ended fourth at last year’s Paralympics, will need a miracle if she is to overhaul Ejike and reach the top of the podium.
More information on the World Para Powerlifting Championships, including live coverage, results and athlete profiles can be found on Mexico City 2017’s website.