Obiji and Mahmoud to face-off for first time in over a year

Nigerian Loveline Obiji and Egypt’s Randa Mahmoud will renew their rivalry in the women’s -86kg at the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships, as their teams jostle for position on the medals table once again at a major international competition. 11 Apr 2014
Loveline Obiji of Nigeria celebrates on the floor in the Women's -52 kg Powerlifting event.

Loveline Obiji of Nigeria competes in the Women's -52 kg Powerlifting event.

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“There are no other athletes that I worry about.”

Day six (9 April) of the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships will see two athletes from the most successful nations in the sport, Nigeria and Egypt, go head-head for the first time in international competition in over a year in the women’s -86kg.

Nigeria’s Loveline Obiji will face Egypt’s Randa Mahmoud for the gold medal at the same venue in Dubai, UAE, where Obiji set her 140kg world mark in February 2013, beating Mahmoud at the 2013 Fazza International Powerlifting Championships.

“I don’t want anybody to beat me,” 23-year-old Paralympic champion Obiji said.

“To be a Champion is not easy. If you start to look behind you for who is coming up it is the time to stop.

“There are no other athletes that I worry about.”

That confidence is not without merit. Nigerian lifters picked up six out of a possible 22 gold medals in London, compared to Egypt’s four. They finished on top of the medals table for powerlifting and contributed a total of 12 medals to the overall Games haul of 13 gongs across all sports for the country.

However Obiji does not think there is anything special about their approach to powerlifting.

“We have been training very hard to maintain our position as the gold medallists.

“Back in Nigeria we train every day because it is our work” she said.

The team also currently holds three out of the 20 world records and Obiji believes she can lift 150kg at Dubai 2014 to maintain her position on that list.

London silver medallist Mahmoud however will be looking to make her contribution to Egypt’s current first place on the medals table in Dubai, and with Nigeria currently sitting in third there is everything to play for.

In addition, the two countries are equal on gold medals with three each thanks to several world breaking performances by their respective athletes during the first five days of competition.

As Dubai 2014 serves as the first qualification opportunity for Rio 2016, Obiji is already looking to the next Paralympic Games and even beyond to continue the rivalry between two of the greatest powerlifting nations:

“It is the plan to go to Rio and I will carry on for as long as I can after that.”

You can watch Loveline Obiji and Mahmoud Randa in the women’s -86kg on Thursday 9 April from 1:30pm (GST) live at ParalympicSport.TV.

The men's -97kg will also be livestreamed beforehand at 10am local time, featuring Egyptian Paralympi champion and world record holder Eldi Mohamed.

The 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships, featuring over 330 athletes from nearly 60 countries, run from 5-11 April.

The competition also features the climax to the "Raise the Bar campaign," which has seen powerlifters and team officials take part in education seminars as part of efforts to reduce doping in the sport.

More information including a full competition schedule and live results can be found at the Dubai 2014 website.