Siamand Rahman displayed his strength by comfortably winning the men’s over 107kg and confirming his status as the world’s strongest Paralympian on the penultimate day (7 December) of competition at the World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City.
After achieving what no other man had before by breaking the 300kg barrier at Rio 2016 to set a new world record of 310kg, most fans were expecting the Iranian to make history again. However, the two-time Paralympic champion was satisfied with just winning gold.
“Why do I have to break the world record every time I compete?” he answered after being asked about the reasons why he did not try to break it again. “I cannot do it every time and, besides, I had some technical issues.
“I am happy for this title and want to dedicate it to my family, friends and all the people in Iran.”
Despite not attempting the world record it was still an impressive display from the champion. He led comfortably from round one with a lift of 265kg, before lifts of 275kg and finally 285kg saw him secure gold with a winning margin of 41kg.
It was an Iranian 1-2 in the category as Mansour Pourmirzaei took silver following a 241kg lift, while Jordan´s Jamil Elshebli (235kg) sealed bronze.
Xu Lili took revenge from last year’s defeat to Nigeria’s Bose Omolayo at Rio 2016 by not only winning the women’s up to 79kg but also taking her world record. The Chinese lifted 138.5kg, just half a kilo more than the 138kg mark that Omolayo had set at last year's Paralympic Games.
This was Xu’s second time competing at a World Championships after finishing fifth at Kuala Lumpur 2010. The Asian champion was elated while receiving the gold medal, smiling from ear to ear. Omolayo, on the other hand, was very disappointed after her lift of 129kg was only enough for silver.
“I cannot believe I lost to Lili. I cannot lose with her. But I will be back. I am coming back for Tokyo 2020, beat her and win gold,” said a defiant Omolayo, angry that she had finished in second place at her maiden World Championships.
Chinese Taipei’s defending world champion Tzu-Hui Lin took bronze after clearing the bar at 103kg. Although she managed to reach the podium once again, the double Paralympic champion was far from reaching the 131kg she lifted at Rio 2016.
Narrow win for Eldib
In the men’s up to 97kg, Mohamed Eldib confirmed he is the strongest powerlifter in the category by lifting 221kg to claim his first world title after winning silvers at both Kuala Lumpur 2010 and Dubai 2014.
Egypt’s two-time Paralympic champion was far from breaking his own world record of 243kg, though, and was closely followed by Mohammed Khalaf, who lifted just 1kg less.
The powerlifter from the United Arab Emirates had taken gold in the men’s up to 88kg at Rio 2016 and moved up one category ahead of Mexico City 2017 hoping to achieve same success, but had to settle for silver.
Fabio Torres finished in 12th position at the last edition of the Worlds in 2014, but delivered a memorable performance at Mexico City 2017 to rise nine places and collect bronze.
The 41-year-old had two failed attempts before lifting 219kg in the third and final round. It was Colombia’s first powerlifting medal at this World Championships. “This is something unexpected. I came here to compete and give my best and now I have a medal hanging around my neck. It is so great,” said Torres.
As expected, Roland Ezuruike won his first world title in the men’s up to 54kg. The Nigerian cleared the bar at 175kg in his first attempt and 180kg in his second, but failed to lift 184kg in his third. He was far from the 200kg he lifted at Rio 2016, but was still full of joy.
“I am so happy! I had an injury while preparing for the World Championships and did not get here in my best possible form. So this gold medal was an absolute surprise!” said Paralympic champion Ezuruike while playing with his medal, posing with it for the photographers and showing it to everyone.
Vietnam’s Binh An Nguyen was close to taking gold but failed in his third attempt at 184kg and instead claimed silver thanks to his 178kg lift in the first round.
European champion and Paralympic bronze medallist Dimitrios Bakochristos finished in third place after lifting 170kg, the same as China’s Jian Wang, but the Greek reached the podium thanks to his lower body weight (53.02 to 53.42).
More information on the World Para Powerlifting Championships, including live coverage, results and athlete profiles can be found on the Mexico City 2017’s website.