Iranian legend Siamand Rahman might not have broken the world record in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, but he still stole the show by winning his third World Para Powerlifting Championships title on Friday.
Reassuring his status as the strongest ever Paralympian, Rahman comfortably lifted 265kg in his second attempt to take gold in the men’s over 107kg.
Having opened with 250kg, the 31-year-old took the lead after the first round as compatriot Mansour Pourmirzaei and Iraq’s Faris Al-Ageeli followed.
After the second round, he was way ahead of the pack and had already sealed the title. Therefore, he decided to retire in the third round.
It was an Iranian one-two as Pourmirzaei (236kg) claimed silver, while Al-Ageeli (235kg) completed the podium.
“I am very happy. It was a strong competition today. My coach suggested the weight here. So I didn’t go for the record today,” said two-time Paralympic champion Rahman, whose world record stands at a massive 310kg.
“My main goal is the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and I will set a new record there.”
Rahman also tipped his fans that “it will be a different Siamand that they will witness in Tokyo.”
USA’s Antonio Deandre Martin achieved an Americas record lift of 227kg to finish fourth.
Paralympic champions shocked
Earlier in the women’s over 86kg, Paralympic gold medallists Loveline Obiji and Randa Mahmoud surprisingly lost to Deng Xuemei.
The Chinese cleared the bar at 151kg to improve her own Asian record on her way to gold.
Opening with 145kg, Deng stayed atop the standings from the start to finish only 1kg ahead of Nigeria’s Obiji.
Egypt’s Mahmoud claimed bronze after lifting 143kg in her third attempt.
“I didn’t expect to win the gold today. I was a bit nervous in the start. But I grew in confidence once I could get my first attempt right. This gold is special as it has come after a lot of hard work,” said 27-year-old Deng, who had finished fourth at the Mexico 2017 Worlds.
Poland’s Paralympic silver medallist Marzena Zieba finished outside the podium in fifth place, but bettered her own European record thanks to a 137kg lift.
Deng’s gold was China’s seventh as they led the medals table with 16 overall at the end of the individual competitions.
Nigeria followed them with eight medals (including three golds), ahead of Iran’s seven (three golds).
Action will finish on Saturday, with the first ever mixed team events, which will have 10 nations competing.
You can watch the Nur-Sultan 2019 World Para Powerlifting Championships live on its official website and Facebook page.