Mexico City 2017: Paul Kehinde dethrones Lei Liu on final day

Nigerian breaks world record on his way to gold in the men’s up to 65kg 08 Dec 2017
three powerlifters on the podium, two holding up flags

Kehinde (C) celebrates after beating Liu (L) to gold in the final event of Mexico City 2017

ⒸMiguel Alvarez

The Mexico City 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships concluded in style on 8 December as Paul Kehinde broke the world record in the men’s up to 65kg and Randa Mahmoud successfully defended the title in the women’s over 86kg.

In a clash of Paralympic champions between Kehinde and China’s Liu Lei, the Nigerian prevailed after breaking the world record of 220kg he set at Rio 2016 by lifting 0.5kg more at his maiden World Championships.

“Liu is a great powerlifter and it is always hard to beat him, so I feel really good for having done so this time,” said Kehinde. “I will try again at Tokyo 2020.”

This was the first time that the Chinese, who lifted 193kg, did not finish first at a major international competition after claiming gold at all three Paralympic Games and two previous World Championships he had competed in.

Algeria’s Hocine Bettir (188kg) collected bronze, his first medal at a Worlds and Algeria’s only medal of the Championships.

Mahmoud takes second gold

After winning gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Mahmoud extended her winning streak at major international competitions in Mexico City. The Egyptian lifted 138kg in her last attempt to successfully defend the world title from Dubai 2014.

Nigeria’s Loveline Obiji came in second on her comeback to the sport after a two year break following pregnancy. She failed her two first attempts but cleared the bar at 136kg in the third round to reach the podium.

“I want to dedicate this medal to my recently-born kid. I could not perform to the best of my abilities, but still came to give it all and I am very happy with this medal. I will try claim gold in my next international competition,” she said.

The home crowd celebrated bronze thanks to three-time Paralympic medallist Perla Barcenas. The 46-year-old lifted 133kg to return to the Worlds podium seven years after she won gold in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“I had undergone surgery due to an injury and it was hard to come back and compete on the same level as Mahmoud and Obiji,” said Barcenas. “It is a privilege and an honour to have won this medal. I feel so emotional.

“The Mexicans were amazing; they motivated me with their chants. I admit sometimes I was distracted by them, but felt so supported.

“In the near future, I want to keep fighting for the gold.”

It was Mexico’s third medal at the World Championships, adding to the two golds claimed by Jose de Jesus Castillo Castillo in the men’s up to 107kg and Amalia Perez in the women´s up to 55kg.

As at the World Para Swimming Championships, China ended top of the medals table with five golds, five silvers and two bronze. They were followed by Nigeria (5-3-2) and Iran (3-4-1).

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