Iran’s Roohallah Rostami knew he had a chance of glory coming into the World Para Powerlifting Championships. And he grabbed it in style. He kept his calm and progressed slowly, even came close to breaking the world record in his debut men’s up to 80 kg category event.
The world record holder in 72 kg, Rostami eventually clinched the gold after pushing a powerful 236 kg in the third round, that also saw China’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Gu Xiaofei attempting for the same weight only to fail, in an exciting contest at the World Para Powerlifting Championships in Nur-Sultan on Tuesday (16 July).
Xiaofei, who was in fact ahead of the Iranian after Round 2, settled for the silver with his second-round lift of 227kg, while Egypt’s Mohamed Elelfat finished just 2 kg behind the Chinese on 225kg for the bronze.
The world record stands at 240kg achieved by Majid Farzin at the Rio 2016 Games.
For Rostami, this has been his one of the biggest wins after the Rio 2016 Paralympic silver and Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games where he achieved the world and Asian record of 229kg, both in men’s -72kg.
“It was just perfect!”
“It was a strong competition today. So, we planned to start from lower weight and finish it on higher weight. That was the tactic. And I am happy we could execute the plan today,” said the 30-year-old world champion who now eyes the gold at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Peng bags -72kg title
Rostami’s gold in fact spoiled the party for the Chinese team, who already had picked up a gold through HU Peng in men’s up to 72 kg.
The two-time Paralympic medallist Peng lifted 209 kg in his first attempt, enough to take the gold and his first Worlds title. He however failed in his next two attempts for 212kg and 215kg.
Iran’s London 2012 and Mexico 2017 champion Nader Moradi had high expectations coming into the event but had to be content with the second place. Moradi also had one successful attempt in the second round when he cleared the bar at 202 kg, ahead of Nigeria’s Nnamdi Innocent who took the bronze with 190kg.
“Doing well here was an important step for me in my preparations for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Also, it was important to know where I stand. That’s why I prepared for this event really hard; I gave almost a year to improve my technique and game,” said the 30-year-old Peng.
Among others, Rio 2016 silver medallist Rasool Mohsin was a big disappointment finishing in the eighth place with 175kg, far off from his 220 kg lift in Indonesia 2018.
Earlier in the day, the men’s up to 72kg had to be stopped and continue in the afternoon due to a fire alarm activation. The first event, women’s up to 67kg event, was also postponed.