Para powerlifting fans could not have asked for a more electric start to the World Championships in Tbilisi, as 16 world junior titles were awarded on Saturday (27 November).
The day kicked-off with a big upset as Brazil’s Lucas Dos Santos was denied his golden World Championships hat-trick in the men’s up to 49kg category. Iraq’s Muslim Al-Sudani obliterated the junior world record after he lifted an epic 154kg.
Eyebrows were raised when Al-Sudani entered the competition at 149kg - 9kg heavier than the standing junior world record - but he quickly silenced any doubt with a successful lift in round two.
There was more in the tank as in the final round Al-Sudani added 5kg to set a second record in one day, raising the bar to 154kg to win gold.
Mohammad Alshnaiti from Jordan continued his silver streak from the Nur-Sultan 2019 Worlds, sealing second place with 131kg in his first lift. Dos Santos completed the podium, his third podium finish and first bronze medal in World Champs.
Egypt’s anthem was heard for the first time in Georgia thanks to Aymen Khodja’s golden performance in the men’s up to 59kg category. A lift of 128kg secured him the coveted prize. Zakhar Buimov from Kazakhstan racked 110kg for silver followed by Dzmitry Khodas of Belarus with 100kg for bronze.
It was double the delight for Great Britain in the men’s up to 54kg and up to 65kg as Thomas Smith and Mark Swan sealed top spot in their respective categories.
“This year has provided a lot of challenges and for me it is about how I adapt and how I meet those challenges”, said Smith. “It’s all good experience with me being at a young age. Hopefully it’s just the start of something big now.”
Smith racked up 126kg to claim the title and achieve his best result of his career so far. Swan took gold with 175kg.
Kazakhstan’s Azizbek Zamirbek Uluu and Russia’s Aiaal Sivtsev joined Smith on the podium, whilst Iraq’s Ahmed Al-Karkhi placed alongside Swan for silver with Yerlan Issakov giving Kazakhstan another medal with bronze.
Olivia Broome shines again
Great Britain’s golden streak continued in the women’s up to 50kg as reigning junior champion and Paralympic bronze medallist, Olivia Broome, cleared 107kg to take the title with a new junior world record.
“I’m feeling over the moon. It was always a goal of mine to keep setting the records and [become] a junior world champion and now that I’ve done that I’m very happy”
Fellow Brit Charlotte McGuinness took the silver and on her final lift, at her debut world champs, Zahra Dadashova from Azerbaijan won bronze.
It was a convincing victory for Ukraine’s Daria Kobylynska in the women’s up to 45kg. Her winning lift of 73kg separated her and silver by a margin of 23kg. Sandugash Akanova of Kazakhstan took silver and bronze belonged to Brazil’s Tayna Rodrigues.
Brazil found the top of the podium in the women’s up to 41kg, with Lara Aparecida de Lima lifting 87kg - 22kg clear of second - earning her the crown.
Double gold for Mexico
Mexico stole the show in the women’s up to 55kg and up to 61kg. Debutant Fabiola Perez lifted 61kg to win her first title, whilst Fatima Castellanos sought redemption after she lost her title two years ago in Nur-Sultan. She was successful in her mission, racking up 75kg.
Perez was joined on the podium by Kazakhstan's Alexandra Penkova who scored 33kg on her World Champs debut. Teammate Valeriya Smirnova kept Castellanos company on the podium after her 52kg lift.
It was a solid performance by another Ukrainian, Zlata Diachuk, in the women’s up to 67kg category. Diachuk kept her cool and held off Japan’s Karin Morisaki to seal top spot with 73kg.
Victory also belonged to Valeria Alves (BRA) in the women’s up to 86kg category and Leyla Karimova (AZE) in the women’s over 86kg.
The final three gold medals of the opening day in Tbilisi were awarded to Russia’s Islam Abdulkadirov, Iran’s Saeid Eskandarzadeh and Hassan Elattar of Egypt.
It was a fierce battle for gold in the men’s up to 72kg but Abdulkadirov prevailed over Egypt’s Islam Mohamed, clearing 115kg - 3kg more than the Egyptian.
In his third and final attempt Great Britain’s Oliver Liddle pressed his way onto the podium with a lift of 101kg.
Saeid Eskandarzadeh lifted 150kg in the men’s up to 80kg category to not only secure him the gold but set a new Asian junior record.
More continental records
Ukraine added another medal to today’s haul with a silver from Nazarii Butkevych.
Another continental record fell when Hassan Elattar took to the stage in the penultimate category of the day.
The Egyptian saved his best until last in the men’s up to 88kg, making history with a new African junior record of 154kg. He attempted to set a new junior world record but was denied.
Russia’s Leonid Voshchikov also took the title in the men’s up to 88kg category with a final lift of 150kg.
The Senior World Championships kicks off on Sunday (28) with the men’s up to 49k followed by the women’s up to 41kg and up to 45kg.
The Tbilisi 2021 World Para Powerlifting Championships will be livestreamed on the World Para Powerlifting website and Facebook page.
Complete schedule and results are available at the Tbilisi 2021 microsite.