Para powerlifting will make history in Tokyo as the sport will have an equal number of female and male athletes competing at the Paralympic Games for the first time.
A total of 180 Para powerlifters, 90 female and 90 male, will take part in the Games across 10 bodyweight categories for women and men, respectively.
The number of athletes competing in women’s events has increased significantly in the last two decades – from 36 percent at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics to 44.6 per cent at the last Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Para powerlifting at Tokyo 2020 will have gender balanced representation across all participant continents. In fact, Africa and Europe will be represented by more female than male athletes in Japan.
“We are not only looking at statistics when we talk about gender parity in our sport,” Jorge Moreno, Head of World Para Powerlifting, said.
“Through the years and especially during the Paralympic cycle after Rio, World Para Powerlifting developed a series of activities and increasing opportunities for female participation among athletes, coaches and technical officials. We already had an equal number of categories and medal events, now we will have an equal number of powerlifters too. The competition schedule will be balanced, with the same number of men’s and women’s events per session per day.”
Tokyo 2020 will also see gender equality among technical officials, with the same number of men and women officiating.
Seventy-nine out of the 90 female athletes in Tokyo achieved direct qualification through the world ranking in their categories. Another 11 received bipartite slots from World Para Powerlifting.
Four countries (Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Panama and Singapore) will be making their Para powerlifting debut at the Paralympic Games. Female powerlifters from eight countries qualified for the first time, including hosts Japan.
The women’s up to 41kg and the men’s up to 49kg finals will open the Para powerlifting programme in Tokyo on 26 August.
The five-day programme will conclude on 30 August. A complete schedule can be found on the Tokyo 2020 website.
The full list of athletes in action in Para powerlifting at Tokyo 2020 can be found below:
China leads the all-time Para powerlifting medals table with 27 Paralympic gold, followed by Egypt (22) and Nigeria (21). Nigeria topped the standings at Rio 2016 with six gold.