All eyes will be upon the world’s strongest Paralympian Siamand Rahman when he takes centre stage on the penultimate day (7 December) of competition at the World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City.
Iran’s 29-year-old knows he can break his own world record of 310kg he set at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Rahman lifted 311kg while training in the lead-up to Mexico City 2017 and is hoping to repeat that in the men’s over 107kg.
There are no rivals who can even get close to Rahman. Egypt’s Amr Mosaad, who took silver at last year’s Paralympics, cleared the bar at 235kg, 75kg less than what Rahman lifted. Something truly unexpected needs to happen for the two-time Paralympic champion to miss gold in Mexico City.
The only time Rahman did not make the top of the podium at a major international competition was at the Kuala Lumpur 2010 World Championships, when he finished second.
There are several candidates for gold in the men’s up to 97kg. Egypt’s Mohamed Eldib is the strongest of them all, especially after setting a world record of 243kg in early 2016 before going on to claim his second Paralympic gold at Rio 2016. In Mexico City he seeks to win his first world title after securing silver at both Kuala Lumpur 2010 and Dubai 2014.
His main opponent will likely be Qi Dong, who won silver at last year’s Paralympics after lifting only 4kg less than the Egyptian. China’s Beijing 2008 champion has not reached the podium at a World Championships since Busan 2006, when he won bronze.
The third big name competing will be United Arab Emirates’ Mohammed Khalaf, who took gold in the men’s up to 88kg at Rio 2016 and decided to move up one category hoping to achieve the same success.
Another gold for Nigeria is expected in the women’s up to 79kg through Paralympic champion Bose Omolayo. The 28-year-old, who set a world record of 138kg at Rio 2016, seeks to top the podium at her maiden World Championships.
But China’s Xu Lili did not fly to Mexico City only to make up the numbers. She lifted only 3kg less than her rival at last year’s Paralympics and has a good chance of taking the throne for herself. Another strong powerlifter in the category is Rio 2016 bronze medallist Tzu-Hui Lin of Chinese Taipei.
Roland Ezuruike appears as the strong favourite for the men’s up to 54kg. The Nigerian set a Paralympic record of 200kg at Rio 2016 and is aiming to take another step forward in Mexico City and break the world record of 205kg set by Egypt’s Sherif Osman.
China’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Wang Jian and Greece’s Paralympic bronze medallist Dimitrios Bakochristos will most likely battle for the second place.
More information on the World Para Powerlifting Championships, including live coverage, results and athlete profiles can be found on Mexico City 2017’s website.