Mexico City 2017: Paralympic and world champions battle for gold on day three

Vietnam’s Rio 2016 champion Le faces Nigeria's reigning world champion Yakubu 04 Dec 2017
two male Para powerlifters celebrate

Yakubu(L) and Van Cong will face off in the men's up to 49kg

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Vietnam’s first Paralympic gold medallist Le Van Cong will take on Nigeria’s defending World champion Adesokan Yakubu in what promises to be a thrilling men’s up to 49kg event on day three (4 December) of competition at the World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City.

Their rivalry can be traced back to the last edition of the Worlds in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2014, when Yakubu won gold after clearing the bar at 181kg, only 1kg more than his rival.

At Rio 2016, Le became the first Vietnamese athlete to top the podium at a Paralympic Games when he won the men’s up to 49kg with a world record lift of 183kg. Unfortunately for Yakubu, he could not participate at Latin America’s first Paralympic as he missed the registration deadline due to a late arrival in the Brazilian city.

Another exciting event will be the women’s up to 45kg. With China’s Rio 2016 champion and world record holder Hu Dandan withdrawal from Mexico City 2017, it is likely to be a battle between Nigeria’s Latifat Tijani, Great Britain’s Zoe Newson and Turkey’s Nazmiye Muratli.

Rio 2016 was Tijani’s first major international competition, lifting 106kg and claiming silver. Newson cleared the bar at 102kg to finish third, sealing her second bronze over two Paralympic Games.

Muratli is the women’s up to 41kg reigning Paralympic and world champion, and world record holder, but will be moving up one category for Mexico City 2017, hoping to achieve same success.

The third event to be contested on Monday is the men's up to 72kg. Rio 2016 bronze medallist and 2015 African Games silver medallist Nnamdi Innocent will be hoping to prove why Nigerians produce some of the strongest powerlifters in the world.

His main opponent will be China's Hu Peng, who took silver in the men's up to 65kg at last year's Paralympic Games and has moved up one category to compete at Mexico City 2017.

More information on the World Para Powerlifting Championships, including live coverage, results and athlete profiles can be found on Mexico City 2017’s website.