Hungary’s Nandor Tunkel is hoping to surpass his Rio 2016 bronze medal winning lift of 155kg at the opening World Para Powerlifting World Cup of 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tunkel will compete on the first day of competition (Monday, 27 February) in the men’s up to 49kg, where he will begin his road to the 2017 World Championships.
“My aims are to break my Rio result of 155kg,” Tunkel said. “Whether this result could be enough, we will only see it during the Cup.”
The Hungarian made a stunning Paralympic debut in 2016, claiming his bronze just three years after making his international debut in Dubai.
He returns to the city where it all began, wanting to build off a great year, where he will also test himself ahead of the Worlds taking place in Mexico City from 30 September.
“I would like to be on the podium in Mexico City too,” Tunkel said. “Anyway I would like to come close to those who might finish in front of me.”
One of those powerlifters may be Jordan’s Omar Qarada. The pair have a long history behind them; Qarada claimed silver in Rio but Tunkel insisted he is not focusing on anyone in particular.
“There’s nobody who I’d particularly like to beat, rather I want to overcome my limits and to increase my performance,” Tunkel said. “In case I have to fight with anyone in order to obtain a better result in the competition, I always want to beat my rivals who are in front of me.”
Looking back at Rio 2016, Tunkel described his experience as a “dream come true.”
“In February 2016 it became certain that I won a quota to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. From there on, it was the only thing floating in my eyes every day.
“I was even more motivated to compete in Rio, it made me even more determined to train and prepare for my first Paralympic Games.”
All the action from the Dubai Sports Club for the Disabled will be shown live at World Para Powerlifting’s website from 10am (GST) (7am CET).
Competition opens on Monday with the men’s up to 49kg and up to 54kg, and the women’s up to 41kg, up to 45kg and up to 50kg.
The 2017 World Para Powerlifting World Championships begins on 30 September. Around 360 powerlifters from 65 countries are expected to compete.