A number of medallists from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are set to compete at the season-opening Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai, where action is due to begin tomorrow.
Iraq’s Rasool Mohsin, the men’s 72 kilograms silver medallist at last year’s Games, will be among the 190 athletes from 33 countries battling for medals over five days at the Dubai Sports Club for the Disabled.
He will be joined by the likes of The Netherlands’ Melaica Tuinfort and Hungary’s Nandor Tunkel, Paralympic bronze medallists in the respective women’s over 86kg and men’s 49kg categories.
Tunkel is hoping to better his 155kg performance from Rio 2016, but is likely to face stiff competition from Jordan’s Omar Qarada who claimed silver in the Brazilian city.
"There’s nobody who I’d particularly like to beat, rather I want to overcome my limits and to increase my performance," Tunkel said.
"In case I have to fight with anyone in order to obtain a better result in the competition, I always want to beat my rivals who are in front of me."
Qarada’s team-mate Mutaz Al Juneidi will begin his campaign to retain his world title in the men’s 88kg division.
The former world record holder missed the podium in Rio de Janeiro with a 190kg lift, way below his 229kg career best from 2014.
Mohsin is the stand-out name in the men’s 72kg category having managed a world record-breaking lift of 227kg at Rio 2016.
He achieved the lift after losing out on gold to China’s Lei Liu, who will not be competing in Dubai.
Like Mohsin, Dutchwoman Tuinfort is using the World Cup as an opportunity to sharpen preparations for the 2017 World Championships, which are scheduled to begin in Mexico City on September 30.
"I want to see where I am right now, because I’m really focusing on the World Championships in Mexico," Tuinfort said.
"In Dubai, it’s just to see where I am at now, and to see how athletes are doing also.
"I hope I will get a medal.
"I don’t know but I will try my best."
Also due to compete in Dubai is Ukraine's Rayisa Toporkova, the women’s 45kg world champion who will be moving up to the 50kg category for the event.
The change could give Poland’s Justyna Kozdryk, the women’s 45kg world and European silver medallist, a boost for the World Cup opener.
Competition opens tomorrow with the men’s 49kg and 54kg categories and the women’s 41kg, 45kg and 50kg divisions taking centre stage.