Worlds defeat no deterrent for Lei Liu

Chinese powerlifter looks ahead to Asian Championships after losing world title 05 Feb 2018
three male powerlifters on a podium

Lei Liu (L) had to settle for silver behind Paul Kehinde (C) at Mexico City 2017

ⒸManuel Velasquez / Getty Images
By By Maria Gran | for the IPC

“Well, I tried my best. Although the results are not ideal, they do reflect on my recent training level. No one can always be first, it is the law of nature.”

Despite being defeated in the Mexico City 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships, the Chinese athlete does not lack the motivation to keep training for future competitions. After moving down a weight class to men’s up to 65kg after the Rio Paralympics in 2016, Liu had to battle it out against Nigeria’s Paul Kehinde in the Worlds, resulting in Liu’s first defeat at a major international competition.

“Well, I tried my best”, said Liu. “Although the results are not ideal, they do reflect on my recent training level.”

Liu’s lift of 193kg earned him second place, while Kehinde’s lift of 220.5kg broke the world record. They both have a gold medal from the 2016 Paralympics, where Liu lifted 221kg in the men’s up to 72kg discipline. This time around however, it just was not enough.

“No one can always be first, it is the law of nature”, Liu says. Before the Worlds, he said he hoped to reach one of the top three places, and losing the gold does not seem to have impacted him or his relationship to his competitors greatly.

“This game was always about lose and win, and this time the opponent did better than me, and I lost to him.” Being in a new weight class has its challenges, such as not having spent much time with the other athletes.

“I have not been at the same weight level as him [Paul Kehinde] before, I don’t know him very well, but he is a particularly outstanding and especially powerful athlete.”

The Chinese athlete did not only earn a silver medal from the Worlds, but also some new wisdom and new experiences.

“I have learned that only by giving more than others can earn you more honour than others”, Liu states. He is now working towards his next goal of preparing for the Asian Championships this year.

“I am actively resuming my training and I strive for good results next time around,” he reveals. His goal for 2018 is clear and simple, to win the Asian Championships.

The 2018 Asian-Oceania Championships take place in Kitakyushu, Japan, from 8-12 September.