Powerlifting is the ultimate test of an athletes’ upper body strength, with competitors capable of lifting up to four times their own weight. Such capabilities were seen in the iconic lift of the late Iranian Siamand Rahman, the only Para powerlifter who has surpassed 300kg. As his legacy lives on, here are the strong men and women to look out for at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Ni Nengah Widiasih (INA)
Widiasih is Indonesia’s first Paralympic powerlifting medallist, winning bronze in the women’s up to 41kg at her second Games in Rio in 2016Games. Tokyo will be her third Paralympics and she hopes to take another step forward and secure either second or first place. She has two silvers and a bronze at Asian Championships (2018, 2015, 2013) and bronze at the 2014 Worlds. Widiasih started 2021 with a winning start, securing the biggest prize at the Bangkok World Cup competition in May.
©Asian Paralympic Committee
Sherif Osman (EGY)
Egypt’s Osman is one of the sport’s most popular Para powerlifters, having won three Paralympic titles – two in the men’s up to 56kg and one in the up to 59kg. He is also a three-time world champion, most recently winning the up to 59kg event at Nur-Sultan 2019. The world record holder attempts to surpass 211kg at Tokyo 2020 as he seeks to claim yet another gold to get closer to his dream of winning six Paralympic titles
Nazmiye Muratli (TUR)
The Turkish lifter burst onto the international scene at the 2005 European Championships, when she captured bronze for her country. She went on to become a double Paralympic champion in 2012 (up to 40kg) and 2016 (up to 41kg). Since the Rio Games, Muratli moved up weight classes and captured silver medals from the 2017 and 2019 World Championships in the up to 45kg. She needs to perform at her very best to beat Chinese Lingling Guo, but the Turk is confident she can continue her Paralympic golden streak in Tokyo.
Donato Telesca (ITA)
Telesca will make his Paralympic Games debut in Tokyo having only taken up the sport in 2016. A rising talent, the Italian is a double gold medallist from the 2017 and 2019Junior World Championships in the up to 72kg. Most recently, he took gold at the World Cup event in Tbilisi, Georgia in May. Now 22, Telesca is hoping his junior strength transfers well to the Paralympic level.
Mariana D’Andrea (BRA)
D’Andrea made her Paralympic debut on home soil at Rio 2016. Only 18 at the time, those Games were more to showcase her potential at Tokyo 2020. Her time to shine in front of her Brazilian fans came at the 2017 Youth Parapan American Games in Sao Paulo, where she won the up to 61kg. While her talent on the junior level has been evident, she continued showing her potential on the big stages at World Cups and regional events. She won the up to 67kg at the Lima 2019 Parapan Ams and is fresh off another win from May’s World Cup in Georgia in the up to 73kg.
Fabio Torres (COL)
Torres will be hoping to build on the two bronze medals he won at the 2017 and 2019 Worlds in the up to 97kg. He goes to Tokyo 202 with good momentum afterback-to-back World Cup victories this year. Having lost the lower part of his left leg in 2008 while serving in the Colombian army, Torres rehab journey to powerlifting glory has inspired a nation.
Lucy Ejike (NGR)
One of Nigeria’s most decorated Paralympians is hoping to add to her medals tally in Tokyo. The five-time Paralympic medallist has won three golds and two silvers since her debut at Sydney 2000. The current world champion in the women’s up to 61kgmight look to lift past her own world record of 142kg at Tokyo 2020.
Enkhbayar Sodnompiljee (MGL)
Since capturing Paralympic bronze in 2016 in the up to 88kg, the Mongolian has moved up to the 107kg category and has found consistent success. Enkhbayar is the current world record holder in his category, having lifted a massive 247kg at the 2019 World Championships. He is spurred on to win a Paralympic title in Tokyo to pay tribute to his late coach Sharav Enkhsaikhan.
Zoe Newson (GBR)
Newson will head into Toyo 2020 with positive momentum. The British powerlifter has already bagged two Paralympic bronze medals from 2012 and 2016, but hopes this summer’s Games will be a shinier colour. The current European champion in the up to 41kg event looks to overcome a disappointing 10th place result from the 2019 Worlds. So far, a World Cup win in May has her feeling optimistic.
Mansour Pourmirzaei (IRI)
There will only be one Siamand Rahman, known as the strongest Paralympian ever who sadly passed away in March 2020. But Pourmirzaei seeks to honour his compatriot’s legacy as he forges his own path in the men’s over 107kg category. Pourmirzaei had usually finished behind Rahman, whose world record 310kg lift has been unmatched since 2016. Going at his own pace, Pourmirzaei has shown his own strength, recently winning the Bangkok 2021 World Cup with a 249kg lift. Tokyo 2020 will be his first Games.