A sport that rewards the strongest participants in the Paralympic Games, Powerlifting joined the Paralympic programme at the Tokyo Games of 1964. At the time, only men with spinal cord injuries could take part, and the rules were different to the current ones. To this day, the rules are set by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) itself.
At the moment, the sport is played by people with cerebral palsy, people who have lost one or both legs, and les autres – encompassing athletes with a range of disabilities resulting from neurological, neuromuscular or musculoskeletal diseases that meet minimum eligibility criteria.
The sport has both men’s and women’s categories, broken down by body weight, as in Olympic weightlifting. The lightest category is up to 41 kg for women and up to 49 kg for men. Competitors lie strapped to a bench and execute a bench press movement. The movement starts when the bar is taken away from the rack – with or without assistance – leaving the arms completely extended. The athletes flex their arms to allow the bar to descend to the chest, and then raise it up again to the initial position, finalizing the movement.
Participants have the right to three attempts – the first chosen during weighing, and the others during the contest – and a greater weight must be used in each attempt. A fourth attempt is only permitted to break a world record, but is not valid for the final result.
The person who lifts the most weight is the winner. If there is a tie, the participant who weighs the least wins.