Thursday, September 11, 2008

Egypt wins 2nd powerlifting gold at Beijing Paralympics

Egypt collected its second powerlifting gold at the Beijing Paralympics here on Thursday, topping the medal standings of powerlifting.

Egyptian hercules made strong performances as Sherif Othman won a gold in the men's 56kg category and Shaban Yehia Ibrahim brought Egypt a bronze in the men's 60kg category, adding Egypt's amount of medals to five with two gold, one silver and two bronzes.

"Egypt is famous for Powerlifting," said Othman. "That is why we have so many excellent powerlifters. The International Powerlifting Committee gives us support and the Egyptian Powerlifting Committee also supports us."

Young Othman, who will celebrate his 26th birthday next Monday, took the limelight of the men's 56kg category competition, as he lifted 202.5kg to win the gold and made a hat-trick of the world record.

Othman asked 195kg in his first attempt, and lifted it breezily to break the old world record of 194kg holding by Chinese Wang Jian. He lifted 200kg in the second attempt and 202.5kg in his third.

"It is the first time I celebrate my birthday in a foreign country," said Othman. "The gold medal is the best birthday gift ever."

"It is my first time to visit China," he said. "I am impressed by the city. People are all very nice to me. I will never forget the Beijing Paralympics."

Othman used to be a shot putter and started powerlifting only in 2005, when he was encouraged by his coach Said Abdelhafez, also an powerlifter in men's 56kg, and the first Egyptian medallist in Paralympics.

"I just started this sport in 2005, and thanks to the fact that I got an excellent coach Abdelhafez. With his help, I could make the achievement today. He told me that the best time for a powerlifter is from age 25 to 29, and I decide to make the best of the period."

Rasool Mohsin of Iraq took the silver in 185kg, which is the first medal for Iraq at the Beijing Paralympics. Jung Keum-Jong of South Korea finished third in 180kg. Wang Jian of China, winner of the event in 2004 Athens Paralympics, finished fifth.

In men's 60kg category, Hamzeh Mohammadi of Iran lifted 202.5kg to win the gold and broke the Paralympic record. The hercules tried 205.5kg in his fourth attempt to challenge the world record, which is 203kg made by himself, but failed.

"I am happy with the result," said the gold medallist. "I trianed very hard in recent 10 months."

Ayrat Zakiev of Russia lifted 200kg to take the silver. Shaban Yehia Ibrahim brought Egypt a bronze in 195kg.

"Egypt is always quite strong in Paralympic powerlifting," said Ibrahim. "We have a powerlifing committee back in Egypt, which gives us full support. We also have a project especially for Paralympics, which launched in 2007. That's why we are very well prepared."

"More medals for Egypt can be expected," he said.

By Thursday, Egypt led the powerlifting medal standings, followed by China with two golds and a sliver. Nigeria ranked third with two golds.


No comments: