Why 2018 could be powerlifting's biggest year yet

World records on the horizon for athletes at regional competitions 27 Mar 2018
a female powerlifter holds up her gold medal

Paralympic and world champion Amalia Perez can target a new world record in 2018

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The 2018 powerlifting season got off to an outstanding start as three world records were broken at the opening World Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. But with all continental competitions still to take place later in 2018, many more are expected to fall before the year ends. Here are five powerlifters who have record-breaking performances in their sights.

Amalia Perez (MEX)

At 44 years old, some may think the three-time Paralympic and world gold medallist is in the downward curve of her career. But Perez still has enough strength to produce some top performances. The Mexican took gold on home soil at last year’s Worlds with a 123kg lift in the women’s up to 55kg, but failed to break her own world record of 130kg she set at Rio 2016. The 2018 Americas Open Championships will give Perez another opportunity.

Folashade Oluwafeniayo (NGR)

The 33-year-old broke the world record in the women’s up to 86kg twice in successive competitions and will go for a third at the African Championships in Algiers, Algeria, in July. Oluwafeniayo won the world title in Mexico City after clearing the bar at 145kg. Last February, she increased her world record by 1kg at the World Cup in Dubai.

Paul Kehinde (NGR)

Such as his compatriot Oluwafeniayo, Kehinde also broke the world record in the men’s up to 65kg twice in consecutive events. The Rio 2016 gold medallist first won the World Championships title in 2017 with a world record lift of 220.5kg. Only two months later, he bettered that mark by 0.5kg at the Dubai World Cup. He will be one to watch at the African Championships.

Siamand Rahman (IRI)

The world’s strongest Paralympian comfortably won his second world title at Mexico City 2017. Many were expecting him to outdo his world record of 310kg in the men’s over 107kg after lifting even more in trainings. However, the Iranian did not go for the mark and felt satisfied with just gold. Fans will be expecting Rahman to again make history when he returns to competition at the Asian-Oceanian Open Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan, in September.

Xu Lili (CHN)

Rio 2016 was a bittersweet experience for the Chinese, who won silver in the women´s up to 79kg but after lifting just 3kg less than Nigeria’s Bose Omolayo. Xu’s revenge came a year later at the World Championships in Mexico City, where she cleared the bar at 138.5kg, finishing ahead of Omolayo and setting a new world record in the category. She will go for further success at September's Asian-Oceanian Open Championships.

The first continental competition of 2018 will be the European Open Championships in Berck-Sur-Mer, France. The official website can be found here.