World Cup 2024: Focus on qualification in final meet ahead of Paris

Strong competition on card with 313 athletes from 66 nations attempting for one last time to gain Paralympic ranking this week in Tbilisi, Georgia 19 Jun 2024
A man on a bench press looking at the discs
Malaysia’s Paralympic and world champion Bonnie Bunyau Gustin will be among the top names in action in Tbilisi this week..
ⒸHiroki Nishioka/WPPO
By Priyanka Sharma I For World Para Powerlifting

The stage is set, the athletes are ready to give one last shot to qualify for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games in Tbilisi, Georgia this week.

A high quality and intense competition are expected with who’s who of Para Powerlifting taking the centre stage in the final World Cup before the Paralympics. 

Overall, a total of 313 athletes from 66 nations will be up in action this weekend aiming to improve their Paralympic rankings one last time, making it the most competitive fields ahead of the Games.

Big names in line-up

With all the big names including Paralympic, world and regional stars in its line-up, Tbilisi is set to witness thrilling and exhilarating contests and a lot of emotions – of making the Paris 2024 cut or missing it.

While the elite stars will look to reach their peak in their preparations to Paris, there are some waiting to see their dreams turn real in Tbilisi. 

Powerlifting powerhouses and Tokyo 2020 medal toppers China, Nigeria, Jordan, Iran, Malaysia, Egypt among others have brought in their top names to stamp their dominance ahead of the Games. 

The men’s field has plenty of Paralympic and world stars with Jordan’s Omar Qarada (men’s -49kg) and Abdelkareem Khattab (men’s -97 kg) ready to put on a powerful show in Tbilisi.

The fans should be expecting recording breaking performances as well with Malaysia’s Paralympic and world champion Bonnie Bunyau Gustin in the men’s -72kg line-up. But China’s Hu Peng and Italy’s Donato Telesca should be up for some challenge.

Powerful show

Iran should be hoping to have several podium finishes in the middleweight and heavy weight categories with Roohallah Rostami (men -80 kg), Aliakbar Gharibshahi (men’s -107 kg) and Ahmad Aminzadeh (men’s +107) in their ranks. 

Among Chinese stars who would be eager to excel in Tbilisi would be Zou Yi (men’s -65 kg), the Asian Para Games champion and new world record holder. Meanwhile, world and Paralympic medallist Gu Xiaofei would be looking to top the pot the podium ahead of his rival Rostami in men’s -80kg.

The men’s -80kg will be in focus as refugee athlete Hadi Darvishpoor will be making his World Cup debut in the event.

Another nation looking to make a strong show going to Paralympic is Egypt. Their icon Sharif Osman would be in action in men’s -65kg hoping to gain some ranking points to improve his Paralympic rankings. World medallist Mohamed Elelfat will be another name to watch out for (men’s - 88 kg) for Egypt. 

China, Nigeria women in focus 

Meanwhile, China and Nigeria women will be in focus in women’s field this week – with Paralympic champion and world record holder Guo Lingling (women’s -45 kg) and Cui Zhe (women’s -41 kg) to lead the field 

They will also have strong contenders in Tan Yujiao (women’s -67 kg), Zheng Feifei (women’s -86 kg), both of whom are Paralympic and world champions and Deng Xuemei (women’s +86 kg).

There were some other names from China who emerged winners in the last Asian Para Games – Xu Lili (women’s -73 kg), Xiao Jinping and Wei Yi (women’s 50 kg) and hoping to make an impact. 

For Nigeria, the onus will be on world champion and record holder Onyinyechi Mark (women’s -61 kg), reigning Paralympic champions Bose Omolayo (women’s -79 kg) and Oluwafemiayo Folashade (women’s +86 kg) and world champion Kafila Almaruf (women’s -73 kg)

Mark and Folashade, who set a new record in Egypt in March, will be eager to improve their marks.  

D’Andrea, Perez ready to shine

Among other names expected to come out with a power packed performances are Brazilian favourite Mariana D Andrea (women’s -73 kg) and Mexican legend Amalia Perez (women’s -67 kg). Paris 2024 will be Perez’ sixth Paralympic Games. 

Egyptian world champion and record holder Rehab Ahmed would be aiming to finish on top and set the tone for Paris. But she will have to face Ukraine's Paralympic medallists Mariana Shevchuk and Olivia Broome of Great Britain on her way to women’s - 55 kg gold medal. 

For Indonesia’s two-time Paralympic medallist Ni Nengah Widiasih, it will be important to finish on top to secure her Paralympic spot in women’s -41kg.    

Who will qualify?

The rule says that 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 closing 26 June 2024 will obtain one (1) qualification slot

However, NPCs can only name eight athletes per gender, and there are 10 medal events: 

In case an NPC is represented in more than eight (8) bodyweight categories in either gender of the World Para Powerlifting Preliminary Paralympic Ranking List closing 26 June 2024, the NPC must nominate which eight (8) athletes per gender should be offered a qualification slot.

Where can you watch?

Action from the Tbilisi 2024 World Cup can be watched live on Paralympic Facebook channel. 

Results from all of the events can be found here.