World Cup 2024: Tbilisi sees record breaking shows ahead of Paralympic Games

Abdelkareem Khattab, Zheng Feifei, Folashade Oluwafemiayo and Rehab Ahmed set new world records as China top medals table in six-day World Cup in Georgia 27 Jun 2024
A powerlifter in actipn
China's reigning world champion Zheng Feifei displayed a world record breaking show with successful a lift of 159kg in Tbilisi, Georgia.
ⒸVakho Tsatsalashvili / WPPO
By Priyanka Sharma I For World Para Powerlifting

The final World Cup before all eyes turns to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games turned out exactly what we had expected - thrilling moments marked by powerful and record-breaking shows.

Overall, four world records were broken (Jordan's Abdelkareem Khattab, China's Zheng Feifei, Nigeria's Folashade Oluwafemiayo and Egypt's Rehab Ahmed); while several regional records fell.

China topped the medals table with nine gold during the six-day event. Nigeria, Iran and Jordan followed with two gold medals each.

Glimpse of Paris 2024

While the elite athletes proved their readiness for the Games with power-packed performances, Jordan’s icon Abdelkareem Khattab gave a glimpse of Paris 2024 breaking the world record twice en route to taking the gold in men’s -97kg category.

Khattab, the reigning Paralympic and world champion, bettered his own world record first by one kilo with a successful 256kg lift before improving it by four kilos – 260kg.

Khattab’s compatriot Omar Qarada, a world champion, too put up a strong show to top the medals with 176kg lift.

However, there were a few who saved the best for Paris 2024. Those included names like Malaysian superstar Bonnie Bunyau Gustin who went much lower than his best with 200 kg in men's -72kg event.

Swan’s golden show 

The gold was claimed by Great Britain’s Mark Swan with a successful lift of 217 kg. Egyptian legend Shreif Osman, the world record holder in men’s up to 54kg and up to 59kg, settled for fifth place in men’s up to 65 kg, which was won by Chinese world champion Zou Yi (213 kg).

China also topped the podium in men’s -80kg and -88kg thanks to the efforts of Gu Xiaofei (234 kg) and Yan Panpan (240 kg), respectively. 

Iran continued their stronghold in heavyweight categories with reigning world champions Aliakbar Gharibshahi (-107kg) and Ahmad Aminzadeh (+107kg) claiming the gold medals. 

Iraq’s Mustafa Radhi (206kg) was the surprise winner in men’s -59kg as he finished ahead of Paralympic and world champion Qi Yongkai from China and world stars Herbert Aceituno of El Salvador and Egypt’s Mohamed Elmenyawy.


China, Nigeria women impress 

The women’s competition was even more fascinating with the top stars from Nigeria, China and Egypt putting up unforgettable performances in Tbilisi. 

China men were equally matched by their women with impressive shows by the favourites and Paralympic champions Cui Zhe (-41kg), Guo Lingling (-45kg) and Tan Yujiao (-67kg). 

World champion Zheng Feifei made it even better with yet another remarkable performance, this time in Tbilisi. She improved her last year’s world record show by one kilo (159 kg) to take the women’s -86kg gold medal. Other winners for China were: Asian champions Deng Xuemei (+86kg) and Xiao Jinping (-50kg).

Nigerian athletes made sure to leave an impact in the final event before Paris 2024. Tokyo 2020 champion Folashade Oluwafemiayo continued her impressive form this year to better her own world record with a powerful lift of 165 kg in women’s +86 kg.

Ahmed on top again

Her fellow lifter Onyinyechi Mark, the reigning world champion, also was impressive with her golden show with a successful lift of 146kgin women’s -61kg. Uzbekistan’s Rukhshona Uktamova finished fourth but her 109kg effort was a rookie world record. 

In-form Rehab Ahmed claimed the lone gold medal for Egypt, displaying a convincing show in women's -55kg. She was unfazed by the presence of Paralympic and world champion Mariana Shevchuk (125 kg) and Olivia Broome (119 kg) event, going one kg better than her own world record of 234kg (Cairo 2023).

Meanwhile, Brazilian Mariana D' Andrea stamped her dominance in women’s -73kg, the category she has won the Paralympic gold in Tokyo 2020, with a 145kg effort.

Chile won the mixed team event, with Brazil finishing first in the women's team event and Cuba taking the title in the men's team event. 

Results from all the events at the Tbilisi 2024 World Cup can be found here

What’s next?

The Tbilisi 2024 World Cup was the final event before the much-awaited Paralympic Games in two months.

The top eight (8) ranked male athletes and top eight (8) ranked female athletes in each medal event on the World Para Powerlifting Paralympic Ranking List which closed on Wednesday (26 June 2024) will obtain one (1) qualification slot.

However, NPCs can only name eight athletes per gender in the 10 medal events.