Plenty of milestones and stunning performances made the Nur-Sultan 2019 World Para Powerlifting Championships a truly unforgettable competition.
Five world and 25 regional records were broken, some Paralympic champions reassured their status, while others suffer shocking defeats.
China dominated the show
Chinese powerlifters made their presence felt from the first day, as Cui Zhe and Guo Linging delivered world record-breaking performances.
In the women’s up to 41kg, Zhe showed indomitable spirit to set a world record of 104.5kg.
Later on, Lingling came out fearlessly and lifted 117kg in her second round, to break her own world record of 115kg set at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games.
“A strong mentality and courage are the most important things in powerlifting. I hope I can stay positive and do even better,” she said.
Oluwafemiayo’s bravery stands out
The women’s up to 86kg competition might have been the most thrilling of Nur-Sultan 2019.
Folashade Oluwafemiayo displayed extraordinary strength to retake the world record with her 150kg lift, overcoming a spirited challenge from China’s Zheng Feifei, who had broken the world record earlier thanks to a 147kg lift.
Oluwafemiayo said: “Courage is the most important thing in powerlifting. If you have the courage, then you can do it.”
Legends live up to their billing
Siamand Rahman and Sherif Osman may not have broken a record in Nur-Sultan but still reassured their status among the greats of powerlifting. While Rahman clinched his third Worlds title, Osman achieved his fourth.
The Iranian icon comfortably lifted 265kg in his second attempt to take gold in the men’s over 107kg. The Egyptian enhanced his legend with a with a convincing 196kg lift in the men’s up to 59kg.
Both stars, however, promised to set a world record at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Watch out for them!
Junior shows seniors how to do it
Twenty-year-old Bonnie Bunyau Gustin stole everyone’s hearts at the Congress Centre with an incredible show when he shocked Paralympic champions Paul Kehinde and Liu Lei on way to men’s up to 65kg gold.
Gustin, also a junior world champion, slowly progressed from 185kg to a massive 207kg to claim his first senior major title.
“I never expected to win the gold here with such strong competitors in my category,” said Gustin.
“But I believed in myself, in my hard work and discipline that I follow in my training. This is my biggest win ever.”
Kabyl gives the hosts lone gold
While the seniors disappointed, it was the juniors who brought cheers to the home crowd. The juniors claimed four medals with Tursynay Kabyl giving the hosts the first gold in the women’s up to 41kg with a 57kg lift. They also secured one silver and two bronze.
First ever Mixed Team event
It was held on the last day of the competitions and it proved to be a hit among powerlifters, referees and fans. Osman led Egypt to victory over Brazil in the final.
Brazilian Bruno Carra left happy.
“Innovations are necessary for the sport to grow. It motivates powerlifters to push harder. It also gave us an extra opportunity to perform. This kind of events also unite the teams and we play for a common objective,” he said.
DJ’s Jasmine unique collection
While the powerlifters rocked the Congress Centre with their performances, DJ Jasmine's country-based tracks mesmerised everyone with the 231-track collection.
DJ Jasmine later revealed she had three tracks each for each nation.
“I had a tough time while collecting the tracks for all the nations. But it was necessary as I wanted to add more patriotism into the music. All it meant here was for the athletes. And they loved it. They now want selfies with me!”
Full results are available on the official website.