With eight golds, six silvers and four bronze, African lifters were the most decorated at last year’s Paralympic Games. Nigeria and Egypt finished as the top two nations in Rio. With less than 50 days to go until the 2017 World Championships, much is expected from them on Mexican soil.
More than 360 powerlifters from 65 countries will gather in the Juan de la Barrera Olympic Gymnasium, between 30 September-6 October. Here are five of the best African lifters who are aiming for world titles in Mexico City.
Esther Oyema (NGR): Will play the role of the villain in Mexico City as she faces home crowd’s favourite Amalia Perez in the women’s up to 55kg. Their last meeting was at Rio 2016, with Perez (130kg) emerging as triumphant, but Oyema (127kg) ending closely behind.
Josephine Orji (NGR): Added 7kg to her own world record after clearing the bar at 160kg in the women’s over 86kg at Rio 2016. Orji seeks to defend her world title from Dubai 2014.
Paul Kehinde (NGR): Who can bet against the men’s up to 65kg Paralympic champion? Since making his international debut in 2014, Kehinde has never lost a single competition. China’s Hu Peng will be his strongest opponent.
Randa Mahmoud (EGY): With a Paralympic record lift of 130kg, Mahmoud won the women’s up to 86kg title in Rio. But Nigeria’s world record holder Loveline Obiji beat her at a competition in Brazzaville, Congo, two years ago, and is hoping to do it again in Mexico City.
Sherif Osman (EGY): Lifted 211kg at Rio 2016, which is almost four times his body weight (57.83kg). Osman is the reigning world champion and three-time Paralympic gold medallist. If he is in top form in Mexico City, he will add another trophy to his cabinet.
More information can be found on the Mexico City 2017 website.