After a hugely successful opening day of the Rio 2016 powerlifting competition, which saw the first two gold medals awarded and two world records broken, a further three gold medals will be up for grabs on Friday (September 9).
The morning session commences with the women’s up to 45kg category from 10am. The men’s up to 54kg event follows at 1pm, while the day closes with the men’s up to 59kg event from 4pm.
On her road to Rio, China’s Dandan Hu has consistently finished on the top of the podium in the women’s up to 45kg category.
After a fifth place finish at the 2014 World Championships, the 27-year-old significantly improved on her 90kg worlds lift at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games, where she produced a massive 99kg effort to take home the gold.
Hu reached her peak earlier this year at the IPC Powerlifting World Cup, where she posted a new world record of 106kg in Kuala Lumpur.
Nigeria’s Latifat Tijani and Egypt’s Zeinab Oteify are ranked second and third respectively. They will both be strong medal chances, despite being left in the wake of the Chinese champion so far this year.
Poland’s World Championships silver medallist, Justyna Kozdryk, and Ukraine’s world champion Rayisa Toporkova will also be in the hunt for the medals.
In the afternoon, Nigeria’s Roland Ezuruike is expected to be in the mix for the gold medal in the men’s up to 54kg event.
His major international debut came at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with a massive lift of 189kg to win the event, which has led to him soaring to the top of the rankings for Rio 2016 .
Ezuruike went on to win open gold at the 2015 IPC Powerlifting Asian Open Championships, cementing his place among the world’s best.
Vietnam’s Binh An Nguyen has also found himself on the podium on a number of occasions in recent times.
He was the champion at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games and the 2016 ASEAN Para Games, and was the silver medallist behind Ezuruike at the Asian Open.
His best lift of 183kg was an Asian record that placed him second in the Paralympic rankings. He will look to beat his fourth-place result from London 2012.
Greek and European champion Dmitrios Bakochristos has improved significantly on his 168kg lift from the 2014 World Championships and has climbed to third best in the Paralympic rankings with a personal best of 181kg.
Meanwhile, the men’s up to 59kg category is set to be extremely competitive with the inclusion of Egypt’s Sherif Osman last year.
The Egyptian Paralympic champion in the up to 56kg category has shown why he is the gold-medal favourite at Rio 2016 by breaking the world record with a lift of 210.5kg at the IPC Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai earlier this year.
However, reigning world champion Ali Jawad, from Great Britain, welcomes Osman’s challenge.
Jawad will be hoping to make up for the disappointment from his home Paralympics four years ago, where he did not medal, but he hasn’t come close to Osman’s record in recent events with his best effort of 194kg being set back in 2014.
Chile’s Juan Carlos Garrido and China’s Quanxi Yang are potential podium contenders as well, but they will need to produce something special if they are to match Osman’s strength.