Asia’s best powerlifters will be keen to assert their status when the Para Powerlifting action at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games gets underway at the Tokyo International Forum from August 26, 2021.
Both the men’s and women’s competitions are expected to be keenly-contested affairs with the presence of several Paralympic and World champions in the line-up of 180 para-athletes competing for the 20 gold medals at stake.
Among the Asian nations, China, Iran, Iraq and Jordan are expected to dominate in most of the weight categories while powerlifters from Mongolia, Vietnam and Malaysia will look to make a mark in Tokyo.
China will aim to produce some record-breaking shows with their Paralympic and Asian Para Games champions including Liu Lei (men’s -65kg), Gu Xiaofei (men’s -80kg), Qi Yongkai (men’s -59kg) as well as Hu Peng, the reigning world champion in Nur Sultan 2019 in men’s -72kg.
However, Peng needs to be ready to face the challenge posed by Malaysia’s double world champion and world record holder Bonnie Bunyau Gustin and Iraq’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Rasool Mohsin.
Gustin will be keen to showcase his red-hot form having set the new world record at the Fazza 2021 WPPO Championships in June.
Iran bank on Solhipouravanji, Roohallah
Without the legendary Siamand Rahman who sadly passed away in March 2020, Iran will look to reigning world champions and Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games gold medallists Solhipouravanji Seyedhamed (men’s -97kg) and Roohallah Rostami (men’s -80kg) for a podium finish. Silver medallist at Nur Sultan 2019, Mexico 2017 Worlds, Dubai 2014 Worlds and Rio 2016 Paralympics, Pourmirzaei Mansour will aim for the gold in men’s over 107kg event.
Jordan’s Abdelkareem Mohammed Khatab, who surprised everyone at the Dubai 2021 Fazza WPPO Championships with his world record-breaking performance, will be among the top medal contenders in men’s -88kg. Khatab, however, will face tough challenge from reigning world champion Jixiong Ye from China and United Arab Emirates’ Mohammed Khamis Khalaf.
Mongolia will be hoping to better the colour of the medal through their only athlete in powerlifting, Sodnompiljee Enkhbayar, a bronze medallist from Rio Games, in – 107kg event.
Meanwhile, Vietnam will expect their first ever Paralympic champion and world record holder Le Van Chong to bring home glory but it won’t be easy with the likes of Rio 2016 silver medallist Omar Qarada in the 49kg line-up.
China to dominate women’s events
In the women’s events, records are expected to tumble in the light-weight and middle-weight categories. Chinese reigning world champion in Nur Sultan 2019 Guo Lingling will be aiming for another record show in women’s -41kg gold, while her teammate, Cui Zhe, also a world champion, will be among the favourite for women’s -45kg gold medal. Others to watch out for would be multiple-time world champion Tan Yujiao (-67kg), 2018 Asian Para Games gold medallists Xu Lili (-73kg) and Zheng Feifei (-86kg) to name a few.
The 67kg event might be a repeat of Rio Paralympics finals with China’s world champion Tan and Kazakhstan’s Raushan Koishibayeva, Rio 2016 silver medallist, in contention. But with Nigerian and Egyptian powerlifters in contention, it might be anyone’s day.
Indonesia’s Ni Nengah Widiasih (-41kg) would be keen to improve the colour of her medal after claiming the Paralympic bronze last time.
Para Powerlifting, which was first included in the Paralympics at the 1984 Games, will run over five days with the first medal to be contested at the Tokyo International Forum on August 26, 2021.
China sit second on the all-time medal table in para-rowing at the Paralympic Games, winning a total of five medals, including 3 golds since the first regatta at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.
In Tokyo, boats from four Asian nations will compete in three of the four events. KOR and JPN qualified in the PR1 Women’s Single Sculls event. UZB were awarded a bi-partite slot in the PR2 Mixed Double Sculls event and will join CHN who qualified their boat at the World Rowing Championships in 2019. Host country JPN were awarded a bipartite slot in the PR3 Mixed Cox Four event.
The regatta will start on Friday 27th August at the Sea Forest Waterway, with Finals on Sunday 29th August.