The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) continued its announcements of Ones to Watch athletes for Rio 2016 on Thursday (7 January) by naming athletes to look out for in football 5-a-side and powerlifting.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which run from 7-18 September, will see up to 4,350 athletes from around 170 countries compete in 528 medal events across 22 different sports.
In an effort to make it easier for the public and media to understand which athletes to look out for at Rio 2016, the IPC between 4-15 January is announcing Ones to Watch in all 22 sports, revealing athletes in two sports each day.
The Ones to Watch athletes for football 5-a-side and powerlifting are as follows:
Jefferson da Conceicao Goncalves (BRA)
“Jefinho” is known by many as the “Paralympic Pele” due to his outstanding footballing skills. He was first picked for the Brazilian national team in 2006 and has been part of the gold medal winning side at the last two Paralympic Games and World Championships.
Emrah Ocal (TUR)
Ocal was a key player as Turkey surprised everyone by winning the 2015 IBSA European Championships. The Turkish player scored seven goals during the tournament that qualified his side for Rio 2016.
Silvio Velo (ARG)
Captain of the side since 1991, Velo has led his team to a number of World Championship finals, including victories in 2002 and 2006. He was part of the Argentina side that finished fourth at London 2012 and runners-up at the last World Championships.
Ricardo Steinmetz Alves (BRA)
Alves is the captain of the all-conquering Brazilian side that has won every major title there is. He was part of the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic gold medal winning teams and in 2014 was named the Most Valuable Player as Brazil were once again crowned world champions.
Yakubu Adesokan (NGR)
Adesokan won gold at London 2012 in the men’s up to 48kg class with a stunning world record. He followed this up with a world title in 2014 in the men’s up to 49kg class and sealed silver at the 2015 Asian Open Championships.
Ali Jawad (GBR)
After events off the field of play prevented him from fulfilling his potential at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, Jawad will be hoping for third time lucky at Rio 2016. He will arrive as the up to 59kg world champion and after winning gold at the European and Americas Championships in 2015, will be a strong contender for gold against Egypt’s world record holder Sherif Othman.
Tzu Hui Lin (TPE)
The London 2012 bronze medallist in the women’s up to 75kg class is a regular podium finisher. Only four times has she left a World Championships or Paralympic Games without the gold medal, and only twice has she left with no medals at all. In 2014 she won her third world title but in Rio will find it difficult to beat Nigeria’s world record holder Bose Omolayo.
Elshan Huseynov (AZE)
Despite two attempts, Huseynov has never won Paralympic gold, but this could change at Rio 2016 if his 2015 form is anything to go by. At the 2015 Asian Open Championships, he won gold with a new world record of 243kg. He then added 1kg onto his record at the European Open.
Lei Liu (CHN)
In Rio, Liu will be looking for this third successive Paralympic title having dominated his class in recent years. In 2014 he won the world title in the men’s up to 65kg class and in 2015 added Asian Open and European Open titles.
Pavlos Mamalos (GRE)
The world champion in the men’s up to 107kg class could only manage bronze at London 2012. In 2015 he won gold at the European Open and bronze as the Asian Open Championships. His rivalry with Azerbaijan’s Elshan Husynov at Rio 2016 is certainly one to watch.
Nazmiye Muratli (TUR)
Muratli has won nearly every title there is and will arrive at Rio 2016 as the defending Paralympic and world champion in the women’s up to 41kg class. She won European Open gold in 2015.
Sherif Othman (EGY)
Othman is arguably the world’s strongest pound for pound powerlifter. He won gold at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games, as well as the 2010 and 2014 World Championships in the men’s up to 56kg category. In 2015 he moved up to the 59kg class and quickly broke the world record previously held by Great Britain’s Ali Jawad.
Amalia Perez (MEX)
At Rio 2016 Perez will count on 20 years of experience as she aims to win a third successive Paralympic title at her fifth Paralympic Games. In 2015, as well as gold at the IPC Powerlifting Americas Open Championships, she set a new world record at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games in the women’s up to 61kg class.
Siamand Rahman (IRI)
The world’s strongest Paralympian will be aiming to break the 300kg barrier at Rio 2016. He is the defending world and Paralympic champion who breaks a world record nearly every time he competes in the men’s over 107kg class.
Yujiao Tan (CHN)
Since winning silver at London 2012, Tan has won gold at nearly every event she has competed in. Competing in the women’s up to 67kg class, recent titles have included gold at the 2014 World Championships and at the 2015 European Open and Asian Open Championships.
On Friday (8 January), the IPC will announce the Ones to Watch for sailing and shooting.