Three more events, including two women’s categories, will headline day three of the powerlifting competition at Rio 2016 on Saturday (10 September).
The action begins with the women’s up to 50kg class at 10am, followed by the women’s up to 55kg class, before the men’s up to 65kg category wraps up what should be another exciting day at the Riocentro Pavilion 2.
Ukranian gold medal hopeful Lidiia Soloviova took away the bronze medal at London 2012, but has continued to improve during this Paralympic campaign and hopes to make it to the top of the podium in the women’s up to 50kg event.
Soloviova has slowly been building her way up in the category, taking away silver at the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships in Dubai with a lift of 105kg in what was her first major event in the class after previously competing in the up to 40kg.
However, at the European Open Championships last November, she lifted 110kg for the gold medal and improved her chances of repeating that at Rio 2016.
The two-time Paralympic champion will have to watch for China’s London 2012 bronze medallist Shanshan Shi, who set an Asian record of 110kg last year, as well as Egypt’s Rehab Ahmed, who produced a lift of 107kg at the World Cup in Dubai this year.
The world record of 126kg set by Nigeria’s Esther Oyema, who has since moved into the up 55kg weight class, has not been challenged in recent competitions.
In the second event of the day, multi-Paralympic and world champion Amalia Perez will go for her third successive gold medal at the Paralympic Games.
The Mexican champion has taken on a new weight class by moving to the up to 55kg event, where she is currently ranked No. 1 in the world.
Her rise back to the top of the rankings was impacted by a shoulder injury at London 2012, which she battled throughout the 2013 season, but Perez has looked strong leading up to Rio, particularly in her World Cup effort in Malaysia – which saw her lift 122kg.
Nigerian reigning world champion Esther Oyema cleared 124kg to win gold at the 2014 World Championships, which was a world record at the time, before improving that mark last September with a 133kg effort in Brazzaville, Congo, for an unofficial world record.
China’s current world record holder Cuijuan Xia is also capable of spoiling Perez’s gold-medal hopes.
Lastly, London 2012 bronze medallist Peng Hu, of China, has his sights set on gold at Rio 2016 in the men’s up to 65kg category.
The 27-year-old has dropped down from the men’s up to 75kg to the lighter weight class, and, last February, lifted 201kg at the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur to guarantee early qualification at Rio.
His main rival is expected to be Egypt’s Shabaan Ibrahim, who will make his fifth Paralympic Games appearance.
Ibrahim has taken home a medal from every Paralympics at which he has competed. However, he has not topped the podium since Athens in 2004.
His best lift this year was 194kg at the World Cup in Dubai, which was matched by another medal hopeful in Algeria’s Hocine Bettir during the same competition.