Six new powerlifting countries to watch at Rio 2016

The sport is one of the fastest growing on the Paralympic programme – find out which countries will enter powerlifters to a Paralympic Games for the first time. 29 Jul 2016
Petar Milenkovic

Serbia's Petar Milenkovic lifts the bar at the 2013 IPC Powerlifting Open European Championships in Aleksin, Russia.


In less than 40 days’ time around 180 athletes from 60 countries will line up for powerlifting competitions at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

A number of countries will enter their first athletes to contest for medals in powerlifting, with some also representing an entire nation at a Paralympic Games for the first time.

Get to know those who will make history during competition from 8-14 September.


Martina Barbierato secured bronze on her international debut at the 2013 IPC Powerlifting European Open Championships. Having qualified for Rio 2016 as the world No. 10 in 2016 Barbierato has earned her place on the bench at the age of 22. She will become the first Italian powerlifter to push for her country.


Fernando Jose Acevedo Gonzalez won medals at an Americas Championships and Parapan American Games in 2015, placing himself firmly amongst the best from his region in the men’s up to 72kg.

He will be the first Para athlete from Nicaragua to compete in a sport outside of track and field.


Petar Milenkovic used to compete in the shot put before switching to powerlifting in 2013. He is a bronze medallist from the 2015 European Open in the men’s up to 97kg, and will represent a new generation of Serbian powerlifters.


When Aliou Bawa takes to the bench in Rio he will not only be the first powerlifter to compete for Togo at a Paralympic Games, but the first Para athlete in any sport.

He will compete in the men’s up to 49kg.


Mongolia are expanding their horizons at Rio 2016, adding powerlifter Sodnompiljee Enkhbayar to those shooters, track and field athletes, judokas and archers who have already represented their country at every Paralympic Games since Sydney 2000.

El Salvador

Aceituno Herbert will competes in the men’s up to 72kg against the likes of Chinese Paralympic champion and world record holder Lei Liu.

Herbert is the first athlete to represent his country in any sport other than athletics.

Some countries will also make their return to the bench at Rio 2016.

World and European bronze medallist Melaica Tuinfort will represent the Netherlands in powerlifting for the first time since Sydney 2000 in the women’s over 86kg.

Samira Guerioua and Hocine Bettir will compete for Algeria for the first time since Athens 2004, in the women’s up to 45kg and men’s up to 65kg respectively.

Finland’s Juhani Kokko, Kenya’s Gabriel Magu Wanjiku and South Africa’s Chantell Stierman will return for their countries after they were not represented in powerlifting at London 2012.


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.

Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.