From left: China's Cui Zhe, Guo Lingling and Tan Yujiao pose with their gold medals.
The 11th Fazza Dubai 2021 Para Powerlifting World Cup got off to a powerful start with Chinese powerlifters winning three out of four gold medals at stake on the opening day on Saturday.
Reigning world champions Guo Lingling (women’s upto 41kg), Cui Zhe (-45kg), and Tan Yujiao (-67kg) showed that why they will be the favourites at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, claiming the top honours in style at the Dubai Club for People of Determination.
In fact, the opening day's show was stolen by Lingling who shattered the world record three consecutive times in her way to take the women's under 41kg gold.
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Lingling, the Nursultan 2019 world champion in — 45kg category, cleared the bar in all her attempts, going for a new world record from her first lift here at the Dubai Club. She went for 105kg, 106kg and finally 107kg, breaking the earlier record set by her compatriot Zhe with 104.5 kg in Nur Sultan.
Nigeria's Ben Jonah also impressed, managing a 104kg lift for the silver, followed by Indonesia’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist Ni Nengah Widiasih who settled for 97kg.
Before Lingling’s world record show, Zhe had already brought cheers to the Chinese team through her gold medal performance in women’s upto 45kg.
The 34-year-old Chinese star, a Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallist in -41kg, began her campaign with 97kg to finish on 105kg, enough to take the gold.
Kazakhstan’s Gulim Kurmanbayeva finished 20kg behind Zhe, clearing the bar at 85kg in her third attempt and take the silver. It was a tight contest for the second and third positions. Had Gulim’s compatriot Alina Solodukhina cleared her next two lifts at 83kg, the result would have been different.
The bronze medal was claimed by Nur Aini Y Mohamad (81kg).
Yujiao took the third gold for China with a lift of 125kg, which was though far below her world record show of 140.5kg in Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games. Egypt’s Fatma Omar tried hard to close the gap but it was too little too late. She managed 122kg in her third attempt to take the silver, ahead of Russia’s Nadezhda Sycheva (111kg).
The day started with the only men’s event – men’s under 49kg category with Jordan’s Omar Qarada claiming the top position.
Qarada, a Paralympic and World silver medallist, came out with a powerful performance lifting 175kg to shock the reigning world champion Vladimir Balynets and take the gold. Russia’s Balynets settled for silver with a successful 168kg lift.
Hungary’s Nandor Tunkel (157kg) took the bronze.
Delighted with his gold medal, Qarada said: “It’s nice to compete again. I have fond memories of the Fazza Championships. This is the 10th time I participated in this event and thank God all my medals are gold here. I love the atmosphere and arrangements by the local organisers. They have done a great job.”
“All my focus is on winning the gold in Tokyo 2020 now.”
Earlier, Chairman of the Fazza Championships Thani Juma Berregad opened the Dubai 2021 event and welcomed all the teams. “I am sure the next few days will be filled with action. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to host the final Para Powerlifting event ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games. I wish everyone the best for the competition.”
Around 300 para powerlifters from 54 nations are vying for glory at the Dubai 2021 event which is the last chance for the para powerlifters to improve their world rankings to get a slot in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
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Sheikh Mohammed received a red carpet welcome from Chinese diplomats and dignitaries.
Sheikh Mohammed underlined the integral role of the UAE in boosting international cooperation and strengthening ties between the region and the world.
UAE Minister of Health Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais has stressed that no case of Coronavirus infection was found in the UAE and that all necessary precautions have been taken to protect the country from the disease.
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