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A new world

Powerlifting

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The ultimate test of strength, powerlifting has been part of the Paralympic Games since Tokyo 1964, with women joining at Sydney 2000. In Rio, there are men’s and women’s medal events in 10 weight categories.
Spectator's Guide - Powerlifting
  • Powerlifting

About

About

Aim of the game

In a supreme test of upper-body strength and technique, athletes compete to lift the heaviest weight from a supine position

Why should you watch this?

You will witness the world's strongest Paralympic athletes in action, in a tense and dramatic demonstration of extreme power, based on an exercise that you can do at your local gym

International Federation

IPC

Paralympic debut

Tokyo 1964

Rules
  • Barbell

    Barbell

    The steel bar and attached weights that the athlete must lift

  • Light Box

    Light Box

    Set of lamps used by the three judges – two or more white lights signal a successful lift, while a majority of red lights indicate a failed attempt

  • Loaders

    Loaders

    Also known as 'spotters', these are the professional assistants responsible for loading the discs (weights) onto the bar and ensuring athlete safety

Impress your friends

  • Powerlifting has ancient roots in the strength tests of Greek and Roman times, but the modern form of the sport originated in the USA and UK in the 1950s

    Powerlifting has ancient roots in the strength tests of Greek and Roman times, but the modern form of the sport originated in the USA and UK in the 1950s

  • With 4 categories on powerlifting's Paralympic Games debut in 1964, the champions came from 3 continents: Europe, America and Africa

    With 4 categories on powerlifting's Paralympic Games debut in 1964, the champions came from 3 continents: Europe, America and Africa

  • Women first competed in the Paralympic Games at Sydney 2000, when the majority of champions came from Africa and Asia

    Women first competed in the Paralympic Games at Sydney 2000, when the majority of champions came from Africa and Asia

  • Iran's Siamand Rahman became the strongest man in Paralympic history when lifted a word record 280kg in the 100kg+ category at the London 2012 Games

    Iran's Siamand Rahman became the strongest man in Paralympic history when lifted a word record 280kg in the 100kg+ category at the London 2012 Games

  • Also in London, Egypt's Fatma Omar broke the Paralympic and world records in the -56kg category by lifting 143kg

    Also in London, Egypt's Fatma Omar broke the Paralympic and world records in the -56kg category by lifting 143kg

  • China's Fu Taoying has a 100 per cent record in Paralympic Games, with four gold medals from the four events she has entered, all in different weight categories

    China's Fu Taoying has a 100 per cent record in Paralympic Games, with four gold medals from the four events she has entered, all in different weight categories

  • Israel's Abraham Strauch is the most successful man in Paralympic Games powerlifting with five medals, four gold and one silver

    Israel's Abraham Strauch is the most successful man in Paralympic Games powerlifting with five medals, four gold and one silver

  • China has won the most powerlifting medals at the last three Paralympic Games

    China has won the most powerlifting medals at the last three Paralympic Games

  • To improve their grip on the bar, athletes bandage their wrists and coat their hands with magnesium powder

    To improve their grip on the bar, athletes bandage their wrists and coat their hands with magnesium powder

  • When powerlifting made its debut in the 1964 Paralympic Games, only athletes with spinal cord injuries were allowed to compete

    When powerlifting made its debut in the 1964 Paralympic Games, only athletes with spinal cord injuries were allowed to compete

Format

Each athlete is allowed three attempts to perform a valid bench press: lying back-down on a bench, the move starts with the weighted barbell held upright with fully extended arms, before being lowered with flexed arms to just above the chest, then lifted again until the arms are fully extended.

The athlete's result is based on the heaviest load they successfully lift. A fourth attempt is allowed only for world record attempts and the mark is not counted in the final competition result.

Assistance

Athletes can ask for assistance in removing the barbell from the rack before starting their attempt. For greater stability, athletes can strap their legs to the bench using belts specifically designed for this purpose.

Competition area

The competition area is a 4m x 4m square platform with a maximum height of 50mm.

Stats

Top Medalists

Men
EGY
Gomma G. Ahmed
3 1 0 4
KOR
Keum Jong Jung
2 1 1 4
CHN
Jian Wang
1 1 2 4
Women
CHN
Taoying Fu
4 0 0 4
EGY
Fatma Omar
3 0 0 3
MEX
Amalia Pérez
2 1 0 3