Folashade Oluwafemiayo and Enkhbayar Sodnompiljee displayed extraordinary strength and courage to break the world records in their respective categories on a drama-filled Thursday at the Nur-Sultan 2019 World Para Powerlifting Championships.
In a nail-biting women’s up to 86kg contest, Nigerian Oluwafemiayo pushed an impressive 150kg to retake the world record in her third attempt and overcome a spirited challenge from China’s Zheng Feifei who had broken the world record earlier thanks to a 147kg lift.
“Courage is the most important thing in powerlifting. If you have the courage then you can do it. When I saw Zheng went for the record, I said ‘I will go for it too’. And my God’s blessings, I could achieve it,” said the 34-year-old, who defended the Mexico City 2017 title.
The bronze medal was picked up by Russia’s Vera Muratova, who also got a European record with her 143kg lift.
Mongolia take first gold
Sodnompiljee made history as he bettered his own men’s up to 107kg world record with a powerful 247kg lift to give Mongolia the first gold in Nur-Sultan. Iranian Aliakbar Gharibshi managed 240kg for silver. Mexican 2017 world champion Jose de Jesus Castillo Castillo (235kg) was third.
The Mongolian was happy that he could live up to his promise to his beloved coach Sharav Enkhsaikhan, who died in 2017.
“I am very happy. All the wins are very important in the road to Tokyo 2020. I want to win the gold in the Paralympics now,” said Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sodnompiljee.
Solhipouravanji claims maiden Worlds title
In another tough battle, Seyedhamed Solhipouravanji showed impeccable form as he lifted 235kg to break the Asian record en route to men's up to 97kg gold.
The Iranian stayed ahead right from his opening lift of 225kg as Yan Panpan and Fabio Torres followed him. The Chinese ended on 227kg for the silver, while the Colombian managed 225kg to complete the podium.
“It was a strong competition and I am very happy to win the gold here. This is one of my best wins after the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games,” said Solhipouravanji.
“I want to take one step at a time. My next target is the Fazza 2020 Dubai World Cup before I take my shot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold.”
Action will continue on Friday with the women’s over 86kg and men’s over 107kg.
You can watch the Nur-Sultan 2019 World Para Powerlifting Championships live on its official website and Facebook page.