After Lei Liu’s decision to move down one category, the men’s up to 65kg at the Mexico City 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships will now feature two Rio 2016 gold medallists in a thrilling clash on the final day (8 December) of competition.
The Chinese powerlifter has been a dominant force in the international scene for several years, having won gold at the three Paralympic Games and two World Championships he took part in.
The only time he competed in the men’s up to 65kg at a major competition was at the last edition of the Worlds in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2014. Two years later, he topped the podium in the men’s up to 72kg at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
In Mexico City, he will face stiff competition from Nigeria’s Paul Kehinde, who is highly motivated after setting a world record of 220kg in the men’s up to 65kg on his way to Paralympic gold at Rio 2016. This will be his debut at a World Championships.
London 2012 gold medallist Loveline Obiji is another powerlifter who decided to take on a new challenge by moving up to the women’s over 86kg. It is a long-awaited comeback for the Nigerian, who took a two-year break from the sport following her pregnancy.
Her main rival will be none other than the women’s up to 86kg Paralympic and world champion Randa Mahmoud, who defeated the Nigerian on the only occasion they met at Dubai 2014, where the Egyptian lifted 143kg and Obiji only 1kg less.
But Paralympic silver and bronze medallists Marzena Zieba of Poland and Melaica Tiunfort of the Netherlands are not in Mexico City 2017 just to compete but also have clear chances of taking the coveted gold medal.
More information on the World Para Powerlifting Championships, including live coverage, results and athlete profiles can be found on Mexico City 2017’s website.