Competition set to be fierce at powerlifting on Day 604.09.2012
In the men’s -90kg category, Egypt’s Hany Abdelhady, China’s Cai Huichao and Nigeria’s Abdulazeez Ibrahim all qualified within a margin of each other.
Randa Mahmoud lifted 4kg more than any of her competitors in qualification and will be hoping to make it a golden day for Egypt once more.
At the ExCeL on Day 6 (4 September), a real demonstration of top level powerlifting is expected. With no overwhelming favourite in men’s -82.50kg, women’s -82.50kg and men’s -90kg categories, the penultimate day of powerlifting at the Games is set to be an exhilarating one.
Metwaly Mathana topped qualification with a lift of 230kg and will begin as slight favourite.
The Egyptian will be looking to win his fourth consecutive Paralympic gold medal and having also won silver in Atlanta in 1996, a medal in London would cement his status as a powerlifting great.
He will be closely pushed by Iran’s Majid Farzin and China’s Gu Xiao Fei. Gu finished third in the 2010 World Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and will be looking to go at least one better in London.
Given the way the Nigerians have excelled in the powerlifting at the Games, it would be no surprise for Opeyemi Jegede to mount a challenge for the podium. The 29-year-old dark horse lifted 202kg in qualification, a total which he will be looking to improve upon.
Those four male athletes will battle for the medals in what promises to be a well contested category.
Randa Mahmoud will be hoping to make it a golden day for Egypt once more. After lifting 4kg more than any of her competitors in qualification, the 25-year-old emerged as the one to beat.
After winning a silver medal at the 2010 World Championships, Mahmoud will be hoping to ensure that she finishes top of the pile this time around.
The Egyptian powerlifting coach, Maher Sadek, explained why Egypt has been so successful at the Games.
“Everyone is capable of being a champion if they follow the right diet and have the right coach.”
Loveline Obiji is just as likely to win gold however. The Nigerian 21-year-old is just another example of how the country from West Africa continues to produce such raw talent.
Also set to finish in the medals is Xu Yanmei. The Chinese won a bronze medal at the 2006 World Championships in Busan, South Korea, in the women’s -56kg category and has since made the considerable step up in weight.
Xu will have to be at her very best to challenge Mahmoud and Obiji, though her place on the podium is relatively secure nonetheless.
A three-way battle will ensue in the day’s final event. Egypt’s Hany Abdelhady, China’s Cai Huichao and Nigeria’s Abdulazeez Ibrahim all qualified within a margin of each other and can be expected to put on a real show for the crowds inside the ExCeL.
Abdelhady will be hoping to emulate the form which won him a gold medal at the 2010 World Championships.
Cai, meanwhile, is the reigning Paralympic champion in the category, a title which he will not relinquish without a fight. After failing to qualify for the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, the Chinese very nearly switched sport to compete in the discus. His coach decided it would be best to continue with powerlifting, a decision which proved fruitful when Cai won gold in Beijing in 2008.