The competition continues to get more fierce as the Tbilisi 2021 World Championships passed the halfway mark on Thursday (2 December).
Paralympic champions Bose Omolayo from Nigeria and Bonnie Gustin from Malaysia extended their domination while the one-two in the women’s up to 73kg from Tokyo 2020 was reversed on day five in Georgia.
China’s Xu Lili put an end to Brazil’s Mariana D’Andrea’s 2021 winning streak when she reclaimed her world crown.
It was the ultimate showdown as the pair matched each other's efforts of 128kg heading into the final round.
Both originally targeted 140kg but D’Andrea backed down at the last minute, hopeful 138kg would be enough to succeed.
But the bar got the better of the Brazilian, giving Xu the confidence she needed to power on and claim the title with 138kg, 3kg heavier than her Asian continental record.
The Paralympic champion had this to say following her defeat to Xu:
“It was not the result that I expected but I’m very happy and I will keep working to do better next time. It was a great year for me and now I will train even harder to achieve my objectives and become a world champion.”
Kafila Almaruf from Nigeria took the bronze medal with 130kg.
Bose bosses the women’s up to 79kg
The Nigerian flag flew proudly for the second time in two days as Paralympic champion, Bose Omolayo, drove to victory and set a new world record in the women’s up to 79kg category.
It was a head-on clash for gold between China and Nigeria.
As the reigning world champion, Han Miaoyu of China was determined to stay top but, in the end, no one could match the high standard set by Omolayo.
The Nigerian had been brushing closer and closer to the world record throughout the championships and after securing gold with her third-round lift of 142kg, Omolayo went 2kg further to set a new African and world’s best mark.
“I’ve got power,” said an ecstatic Omolayo following her victory. “I’m very happy… It’s not easy to push weights. It’s not easy to beat the world record”.
Having failed her final lift, Han accepted third place with a score of 131kg, leaving Vera Muratova of the RPC to claim silver (136kg).
Golden Gustin goes from strength to strength
It got hot and heavy in the men’s up to 76kg category as five athletes fought for three medals in the final round.
There was no doubt though who would take home gold, as Malaysia’s Bonnie Gustin dominated from the start.
Gustin created a 13kg gap between himself and the rest of the field after just the first lift (200kg). It would have been enough to secure him victory but the party was just getting started.
The Paralympic champion proved he is a true force to be reckoned with, scoring a mighty 210kg to earn him back-to-back World Championship titles.
“I feel very proud”, said Gustin whose win in Georgia takes his gold tally of 2021 to four.
Whilst it was a resounding win for gold, the battle for silver came down to the final few lifts.
The penultimate press of the evening solidified silver for Peng Hu of China.
Peng lifted 196kg to seal silver, 1kg more than Para powerlifting veteran, Ibrahim Shabban of Egypt, who completed the podium.
The World Championships continues on Thursday (3 December) with the women’s up to 86kg and men's up to 80kg.
The Tbilisi 2021 World Para Powerlifting Championships is being livestreamed on the World Para Powerlifting website and Facebook page.
Complete schedule and results are available at the Tbilisi 2021 microsite.