April may be approaching fast, but the powerlifting season has only just begun.
The Managua 2018 Para Central American Games was the first competition of the year, with hosts Nicaragua coming top of the medals table with two golds. Three world records fell at the 9th Fazza 2018 World Para Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last February.
But the best is yet to come.
The Commonwealth Games, held in Gold Coast, Australia, between 4 and 15 April, will feature a powerlifting event. Competitions will be contested at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.
Berck-Sur-Mer, France, will stage the first continental event of the year when it hosts the 2018 Para Powerlifting European Open Championships from 25-29 May.
The home crowd will be expecting to celebrate gold through Paralympic and world champion Souhad Ghazouani in the women’s up to 73kg. The women’s over 86kg promises to be thrilling with a showdown between Poland’s Marzena Zieba and the Netherlands’ Melaica Tuinfort.
Other top powerlifters to keep an eye on are Great Britain’s Ali Jawad and Zoe Newson, Hungary’s Nandor Tunkel and Greece’s Pavlos Mamalos and Dimitrios Bakochristos.
Many of the world’s strongest Paralympians will compete at the African Championships in Algiers, Algeria, between 27 and 29 July. Mexico City 2017 bronze medallist Hocine Bettir will be hoping to give the hosts a reason to celebrate in the men’s up to 65kg.
The Nigerians and Egyptians are likely to fight for the top place in the medals table. Lucy Ejike, Josephine Orji and Paul Kehinde seek to add golds for the former, while Sherif Osman, Rehab Ahmed and Mohamed Eldib aim to do the same for Egypt.
The first major powerlifting competition to be held in Japan will take place from 8-12 September with the Asian-Oceanian Open Championships taking place in the city of Kitakyushu. Around 230 athletes from 35 countries are expected to compete.
Siamand Rahman, the world’s strongest Paralympian, could be one of them in the men’s over 107kg. Another Iranian who will go for gold in Japan will be Majid Farzin in the men’s up to 80kg. Vietnam’s Le Van Cong, and China’s Lingling Guo and Tan Yujiao will be others to look out for.
Some of them may also compete at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, between 7 and 12 October.
The last powerlifting event of the year will be the Americas Open Championships in Bogota, Colombia, from 5-9 December. Jainer Cantillo will be the home crowd favourite in the men’s up to 80kg.
Mexico’s triple Paralympic and world champion Amalia Perez will be the event’s main star in the women’s up to 55kg. Her compatriot Jesus Castillo will start as favourite in the men’s up to 107kg after winning last year’s World Championships title.
Brazil’s Evanio Da Silva and Chile’s Juan Carlos Garrido are two other powerlifters to keep an eye on.