Dramatic lifts. Emotional moments. Medals galore. The first three days of the Pyeongtaek 2022 Asia Oceania Open Championships are off to a fiery start with multiple titles decided on the final lifts in South Korea.
The women of Team China are the story so far, as they have unleashed a dominating performance in Pyeongtaek. The Chinese have won every gold medal in the first six women’s events.
Guo Lingling sparked the hot start with her world record lift of 111kg, adding to her medal collection in the women’s up to 41kg. Shortly after, Cui Zhe joined the fun, surpassing the field by a wide margin to win the best and total score titles in the up to 45kg category.
The winning continued on day two as Wei Yi claimed her first major championship gold medals with an impressive display in the up to 50kg class. Not to be outdone, Xiao Jinping cruised to a gold medal sweep of her own in the up to 55kg category. Xiao bested silver medallist Chau Hoang Tuyet Loan of Vietnam by 19kg.
Two more women’s events occurred on day three, and two more Chinese women grabbed golds. Zheng Feifei ran away with the up to 86kg title, while Deng Xuemei crushed the field in the over 86kg class.
Aside from the Chinese team’s success, there was another notable triumph during the women’s competition on day three.
Aghghaleh makes history
Samaneh Hoda Aghghaleh became the first Iranian woman to compete in a World Para Powerlifting championships. Her appearance marks an important example of the benefits of the ‘She Can Lift’ movement started by the World Para Powerlifting.
She Can Lift champions the concept that women belong in all aspects of sports. It works to encourage women that they belong in the sport of powerlifting, no matter the country they were born in. The campaign won an IPC award for its role in championing gender equality.
Things were as thrilling on the men’s side.
Jordan’s Omar Qarada retained his title on the dramatic final lift in the up to 49kg class, just edging out Le Van Cong of Vietnam by two kilos for the best lift score. Adnan Noorsaeed from Saudi Arabia posted three successful lifts to win the total score title in the same class.
Reigning world champion Seyedhaned Solhipouravanji of Iran threw around some major weight of his own to win both gold medals in the up to 97kg.
Another world champion added to his trophy case on day two as Kazakhstan’s David Degtyarev won the best lift in the up to 54kg. Meanwhile, in his home country, evergreen 45-year-old Choi Keun Jin won his first major medal since the 2006 Asian Para Games.
Later on day two, another gold was won on the final lift as Mohsen Bakhtiar or Iran posted a score of 185kg to win the up to 59kg by one kilo.
Gold to India
On day three the world and Paralympic champion and world record holder Bonnie Bunyau Gustin from Malaysia nonchalantly cruised to gold in the best and total score titles in the up to 72kg class.
Ashok of India was the only lifter who completed three successful lifts and took the gold medal for total combined score in the up to 65kg group.
Zou Yi brought some of the Chinese winning to the men’s side as he won the best lift in the same class with a score of 196kg.
Pyeongtaek 2022 Asia Oceania Open Championships continue all week long and will stream live on the Paralympics YouTube channel and the World Para Powerlifting Facebook page.
Live results, entry lists and medallists can be found here.