Chinese Cui Zhe, with three Paralympic silvers and two World Championships titles, is rated as one of the world's best powerlifters.
Her decorated 16-year journey in Para sports is well depicted in Netflix's documentary 'Rising Phoenix'.
Struck with polio at the tender age of two, Cui grew up strengthening her arms, determined to become an athlete after graduating from junior middle school.
She took up powerlifting in 2003 and two years later, her immense talent and hard work paid off as she was called up to the Chinese national team. She made her international debut at the 2005 Asian Championships.
Since then, Cui has been a dominant force in the sport and has maintained her position as one of the best powerlifters in her category. She was dreaming of gold ahead of her home Paralympics in Beijing 2008, but had to content with silver. In London 2012 and Rio 2016 too she had to settle for silver medals.
Her elusive gold in a major international tournament came in 2017 at the Worlds in Mexico - 14 years after taking up the sport. Cui went on to repeat the performance at the Nur Sultan 2019 World Championships.
She is currently devoting herself to training hard while aiming for her biggest dream: Paralympic gold. An old shoulder-injury sometimes makes her feel uncomfortable, but she thinks there is no obstacle big enough to stop her.
“If everyone can endure training at a certain intensity, then why should you be the champion,” she asks, while strongly believing the best is yet to come.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
She was named an Advanced Athlete by the sport administration of Shandong in the People's Republic of China in four consecutive years from 2004 to 2007. (zgsc.china.com.cn, 11 Jun 2017)
In 2003 she received a Merit Citation Class Two from the people's government of Heze in the People's Republic of China. (zgsc.china.com.cn, 11 Jun 2017)
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