There was plenty of jostling and leapfrogging for medals, as three world titles were awarded on Sunday (28 November) at the Tbilisi 2021 World Championships.
Two Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champions added more glory to their resumes in a day that saw two world records, a Tokyo winner surprisingly out of the podium and a first-ever Para powerlifting medal to India.
Qarada wins thrilling final
The top two spots in the men’s up to 49kg category may have been a repeat of the Paralympics but it was packed with drama, for after three and a half hours of competition the title was decided in the final lift.
With a lift of 170kg the 2017 world champion, Le van Cong of Vietnam, entered the final round in top position to pile the pressure on the reigning Paralympic champion, Jordan’s Omar Qarada.
Qarada summoned all of his strength to press 174kg to win the gold - 11 years after he first won the title.
“Sometimes I have pain, I have many things, so when I got that gold medal everything was finished”, said Qarada who is already aiming for more. “I now want to prepare myself for Paris 2024.”
It was a momentous moment for Parmjeet Kumar whose 158kg bronze medal lift entered the history books as India’s first ever senior medal at a World Championships.
“I feel very proud,” said Kumar who added 12kg on to his lifetime best to win the bronze medal.
Iraq’s Musin Al-Sudani also wrote his name into the history books with a new junior world record of 155kg, bettering his record set less than 24 hours previously in the Junior Worlds to finish in fourth place.
The first women’s champion was crowned in Tbilisi and it was none other than the reigning Asian and Paralympic champion, Guo Lingling of China.
Guo asserted her dominance with an impressive opening lift of 105kg - a lift that would have been enough to seal her the victory - but the Chinese athlete was hungry for more.
Guo’s golden lift equalled the world record she set at the Tokyo Paralympics, a whopping 109kg but she was determined to better it.
Guo went on to successfully press 109.5kg in the fourth lift to set the first new senior world record of the week.
“I am happy and excited about this result. I just wanted to express my ordinary exercise and to do it better”, said Guo after winning her third consecutive world title.
Just three months after taking Venezuela’s first Para powerlifting medal in the Paralympic Games with a bronze in Tokyo, Clara Fuentes went one better in Georgia bagging silver (99kg).
Bronze belonged to Nigeria’s Esther Nworgu from Group B with a lift of 98kg leaving Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Ni Nengah Widiasih of Indonesia out of the podium in fourth.
Hat-trick for Zhe
China’s gold run continued into the final event of Sunday, with a dominant display from Cui Zhe in the women’s up to 45kg to equal her teammate’s triple World Championships winning streak.
It was a solid margin of victory for Zhe who sealed gold with 103kg, 9kg clear from Great Britain’s Zoe Newson who claimed silver:
“This is the first ever silver medal that I’ve won in my career, so I’m so happy that I’ve won it”, remarked Newson.
RPC athlete Marina Beketova held onto third place thanks to a press of 90kg.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion from Nigeria, Latifat Tijani, failed to record a result.
The World Championships continues on Monday (29) with the men’s up to 54kg followed by the women’s up to 50kg.
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.