Three more events make up the day four programme of powerlifting at Rio 2016, with China eyeing a big chance to clean sweep the gold medals at the Riocentro Pavilion 2.
First off on Sunday (11 September) is the women’s up to 61kg class, before the afternoon session commences with the men ‘s up 72kg category and the women’s 67kg event to complete the day.
Nigeria’s Lucy Ejike and China’s Yan Yang are both in with a great shot at gold after the move of Mexico’s Amalia Perez to a different weight class.
Ejike leads the Paralympic rankings following her performance at the IPC Powerlifting World Cup in Brazzaville, Congo, last year, but Yang is one who can push Ejike off the top.
After a bronze at Athens 2004, Yang took a break from the sport following the birth of her daughter, but she returned to London 2012, where she took the silver medal, behind Perez.
Already a world champion, the 30-year-old Chinese powerlifter is only missing a Paralympic gold medal from her impressive record, and she has her best chance to achieve this at Rio 2016.
Ukraine’s Tetyana Shyrokolava and Poland’s Malgorzata Halas will also be in the mix for podium positions, lifting 104kg and 103kg, respectively, in the Paralympic rankings, but both would need to exceed that mark to outdo Yang and Ejike.
The afternoon session will be headlined by multi-Paralympic, world and Asian champion Lei Liu, who has established himself as the favourite in the men’s up to 72kg event at Rio 2016.
Liu will be going for his third consecutive Paralympic gold medal, but the gap is tight between him and Iraq’s Rasool Mohsin.
While he leads the Paralympic rankings at 226kg entering Rio, world No. 2 and Beijing 2008 silver medallist Mohsin lifted 225kg at the Asian Championships in Kazakhstan to significantly tighten the race for gold.
Egypt’s Mohamed Elelfat has been building up over the years and also may surprise at Rio 2016 after claiming silver in the men’s up to 75kg class at London 2012.
His golden moment arrived two years later at the World Championships in Dubai, with a lift of 217kg, so the Egyptian only needs a Paralympic title to complete an excellent resume.
In the final event of day four, China’s Yujiao Tan is the one to watch in the women’s up to 67kg division, after bursting onto the scene with Paralympic silver in London at just 22 years old.
Now older and more experienced, the Chinese powerlifter is the heavy favourite for gold at Rio 2016.
Two years after taking the silver medal, Tan went on to claim the world title in Dubai, and, the following year, took gold medals at the Asian and European Open Championships, as well as holding the world record at 138kg.
Egypt’s No. 2 ranked Amal Mahmoud lifted 122kg at last year’s World Cup in Dubai to be the clear silver medal favourite, while Kazakhstan’s Raushan Koishibayeva could reach the podium on her Paralympic debut, after lifting 109kg earlier this year in Kuala Lumpur.