A Nigerian in a league of her own and a Chinese who dethroned the Paralympic champion took the World Championships to new heights on day six at Tbilisi 2021 on Friday (3 December).
The first final of the day was filled with talent and buzzed with excitement. Whilst five athletes were fighting for silver, one was fighting to break the world record in the women’s up to 86kg.
With a comfortable opening lift of 140kg Nigeria’s powerhouse, Folashade Oluwafemiayo, was on course for glory.
Gold was guaranteed following the second round when Oluwafemiayo took a 11kg lead over her competitors.
The Paralympic champion was in a class of her own and there was no point trying to keep up with her, for it became quite obvious that it was Oluwafemiayo versus the bar.
A third round lift of 148kg cemented her gold status and her third World Championship title but the Nigerian was not content.
Oluwafemiayo went on to set a new world’s best of 152.5kg - a fourth world record she has smashed this year - to prove that she is indeed one of most iconic names in the sport.
“I feel very good. I feel on top of the world,” said the Nigerian, who went on to explain the key to her success:
“You find out that you would not do something that draws your attention away from the game. So it’s because I have a passion for Para powerlifting and I put in my mind that whenever I go out for a competition, I will win the gold there.”
Zheng Feifei from China recorded a lift of 133kg, meaning that she can now hang a World Championships silver medal next to her Paralympic silver from Tokyo 2020.
Ukrain’s Nataliia Oliinya took the bronze with a lift just 1kg less than Zheng.
Gu supreme in men’s up to 80kg
China may have not landed top in the women’s competition but victory was theirs in the men’s up to 80kg.
Gu Xiaofei dethroned Iran’s Roohallah Rostami to claim the title and deny the Paralympic champion a golden finish to 2021.
Gu equalled Rostami’s final lift of 230kg and due to his lighter body weight, was triumphant in the head-to-head.
“I had prepared to battle with him [Rostami]”, said Gu. “I feel very happy and proud and we can listen to the National Anthem again.”
Bronze medallist from the Tokyo Paralympics, Mohamed Elefat of Egypt, added another bronze to his collection after his best lift of 217kg.
Although not a podium placer, Italy’s Donato Telesca raised the bar, for his second-round lift of 199kg, set a new European world lead in this category.
The World Championships continues on Saturday (4 December) with the women’s over 86kg followed by the men’s up to 88kg and 97kg.
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.