Paralympic stars in focus as Dubai hosts Powerlifting Worlds for third time

Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is all set to host the Para Powerlifting World Championships 2023 for the third time in the history of the sport, with Paralympic and World champions to take the centerstage over the next nine days.

Two-time Paralympic champion Mohammed Khamis Khalaf will lead a 15-member home team at the Dubai 2023 Championships that starts with the junior championships from Tuesday (22 August).

The Championships, to be held the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council and Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of People of Determination, will have participation of 555 powerlifters from 80 countries vying for glory at the Hilton Al Habtoor City Hotel.

Athletes parade at the opening ceremony of Dubai 2023 World Para Powerlifting Championships.

This is the third time Dubai is hosting the World Championships, after 1998 and 2014 Worlds, and this time it will welcome six new nations including Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal making it for the first time. Meanwhile, Iran will make history with their women players competing first time at a World Championships.

Khalaf, 54, will be joined by his Dubai Club for People of Determination trainee Fahad Mohammed, both competing in men’s up to 97kg, and Adel Shanbih (men’s up to 88kg), besides women lifter Haifa Alnaqbi (women’s up to 67kg) all of whom had won medals at last year’s Dubai 2022 Fazza World Cup. 

Mohammed Khamis Khalaf in training session.

“I will try to get a new number for myself. This is an important event and I want to put all my focus and power to get a good result. Though it won’t be easy,” said

Khalaf, who is expected to be challenged by athletes from Jordan, China and Iran, among others in his category.

Egyptian Sherif aims for sixth Worlds gold

Among the International stars, Para powerlifting legends Amalia Perez from Mexico and Sherif Osman from Egypt are expected to dominate in their respective categories.

Both Sherif and Perez are returning to one of their favourite destinations, where they had one of their career’s most memorable moments: the gold medals at the 2014 Worlds.

The Egyptian will be making his season debut in Dubai aiming for a sixth world title at his seventh World Championships participation. Meanwhile, Perez will be aiming for the fifth gold medal.

China, Jordan, Nigeria athletes in focus

Among others, Jordanian Paralympic champions Omar Qarada (men’s up to 49kg) and Abdelkareem Khattab (men’s up to 97kg), who broke three world records in the last 2022 World Cup in Dubai will be in focus.

Chinese and Nigerian athletes are also expected to dominate in their categories with Paralympic and World champions will be in action in Elite category that begin on Wednesday (23 August).

A colourful opening ceremony, highlighted by UAE’s journey in the world of Parasport, opened the championships on Monday evening.

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