The power of the underdog!

Five powerlifters who could have a breakthrough season in 2018 03 Apr 2018
a female powerlifter clenches her fists on the bench

Mariana Shevchuk is one of powerlifting's up and coming talents

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This might be the year for some emerging powerlifters to make a name for themselves in the international scene, when they compete at their respective continental competitions after delivering good performances at the Mexico City 2017 World Championships.

Check out five of them.

Amir Jafari Arangeh (IRI): It is not easy for Iranian powerlifters to stand out with Siamand Rahman and Majid Farzin as the big names. But Jafari Arangeh may emerge as a new face at the Asian-Oceanian Open Championships in Japan. The 32-year-old, who won gold at the 2014 Asian Para Games, delivered his best performance to date at Mexico City 2017, taking silver in the men’s up to 59kg.

Besra Duman (TUR): At only 17 years old, she made a bright first impression in the international scene by taking bronze in the women’s up to 50kg at last year’s Worlds following a 106kg, only 1kg less than Vietnam’s silver medallist Thi Linh Phuong Dang and 7kg less than Egypt’s world champion Rehab Ahmed. Duman ended fourth at the 2015 Euros but will likely climb a few places at this year’s edition.

Hocine Bettir (ALG): “Always aim higher,” is the 27-year-old’s sporting motto. And he has never stopped improving. In 2017 he achieved his best result so far after claiming bronze in the men’s up to 65kg at the Worlds. With the home crowd’s support, Bettir is hoping to shine at this year’s Africans while facing the difficult task of beating Nigeria’s world champion Paul Kehinde.

Mariana Shevchuk (UKR): She is one of the new talents emerging in powerlifting. After finishing fourth at her first Paralympics in Rio, in 2016, she was close to causing a major upset at Mexico City 2017 by sealing silver in the women’s up to 55kg with a 122kg lift, 1kg less than home crowd favourite and triple Paralympic champion Amalia Perez. Shevchuk also holds a silver medal from the 2015 Europeans.

Ni Nengah Widiasih (INA): In 2016 she became the first Indonesian powerlifter to win a medal at a Paralympics when she claimed bronze in the women’s up to 41kg. Two years before she also ended third at a Worlds. Widiasih switched to the up to 45kg for Mexico City 2017 but finished fourth. She will be looking to bounce back either in Kitakyushu 2018 or at the Asian Para Games on home soil in Jakarta.

The first continental competition of 2018 will be the European Open Championships in Berck-Sur-Mer, France. The official website can be found here.