The World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City in early December was not short on emotion with five new world records, Sherif Osman and Siamand Rahman putting on a show and a surprise gold for Mexico’s Jose de Jesus Castillo Castillo. Still, it was another Mexican, local idol Amalia Perez, the responsible for arguably the greatest moment of the whole event.
Sunday 3 December, was the second day of the World Championships at the Ginmasio Juan de la Barrera. The competition in the women’s up to 55 kg category took place in the afternoon and in front a noisy home crowd that kept shouting Perez’s name every time she came to the stage.
Although she had two previous world titles, Perez had not topped the podium since the 2006 World Championships in Busan, Korea, after taking silver at both Kuala Lumpur 2010 and Dubai 2014. But there was no way the Mexican three-time Paralympic champion would let the gold on home soil elude her.
The 123 kg in Perez’s third attempt gave her the gold medal ahead of Ukraine’s Mariana Shevchuk (122 kg) and ignited the party the fans and her family were hoping for.
“I was feeling nervous but highly motivated. I wanted to give my best to my people, in my country and my home. I just wanted to thank everyone who came to support me, my friends, my family and everybody who has come here,” said the Mexican.
For a moment, Perez said she thought she would not have the chance to compete in his home town following the earthquake in September near Mexico City that postponed the World Championships to December.
“I need to be thankful to life, God and also to the IPC and the organisers who made the event happen even though it was close to be cancelled due to the 19 September earthquake. The championships was part of the route we have to make to be in Tokyo 2020, all athletes gave their best and deserved my respect,” added the Mexican.
China topped the medals table at the 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships with five gold, five silver and two bronze. Only two silver medals separated the Chinese from second-place Nigeria. Iran finished third followed by Egypt and Mexico. A total of 20 countries won medals in the World Championships, one more than at Dubai 2014.
The five new world records set in Mexico 2017: Lingling Guo (China) in the women’s up to 45 kg, Lili Xu (China) in the women’s up to 79 kg, Alice Oluwafemiayo (Nigeria) in the women’s up to 86 kg, Van Cong Lee (Vietnam) in the men’s up to 49 kg and Paul Kehinde (Nigeria) in the men’s up to 65 kg.