Mohammed Khamis khalaf
UAE's Mohammed Khamis khalaf in training ahead of the Para Powerlifting World Championships 2023 being held in Dubai for the third time. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai; Dubai is all set to host the Para Powerlifting World Championships 2023 for the third time in the history of the sport, with Paralympic and World champions to take the centrestage over the next nine days.

Two-time Paralympic champion Mohammed Khamis Khalaf will lead a 15-member home team at the Dubai 2023 Championships that began with the junior championships from Tuesday.

The Championships, to be held the patronage of Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council and Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of People of Determination, will have participation of 555 powerlifters from 80 countries vying for glory at the Hilton Al Habtoor City Hotel.

Iran women to make history

This is the third time Dubai is hosting the World Championships, after 1998 and 2014 Worlds, and this time the Emirate will welcome six new nations including Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Meanwhile, Iran will make history with their women players competing for the first time at a World Championships.

Khalaf, 54, will be joined by his Dubai Club for People of Determination trainee Fahad Mohammed, both competing in men’s up to 97kg, and Adel Shanbih (men’s up to 88kg), besides women lifter Haifa Alnaqbi (women’s up to 67kg) all of whom had won medals at last year’s Dubai 2022 Fazza World Cup.

Powerlift opening ceremony
UAE players during the opening ceremony on Monday. Image Credit: Supplied

“I will try to get a new number for myself. This is an important event and I want to put all my focus and power to get a good result. Though it won’t be easy,” said

Khalaf, who is expected to be challenged by powerlifters from Jordan, China and Iran, among others in his category.

Egyptian Sherif aims for sixth Worlds gold

Among the International stars, Para powerlifting legends Amalia Perez from Mexico and Sherif Osman from Egypt are expected to dominate in their respective categories.

Both Sherif and Perez are returning to one of their favourite destinations, where they had one of their career’s most memorable moments: the gold medals at the 2014 Worlds.

UAE powerlifting
UAE stars will be hoping to continue their medal-winning run at home after clinching three medals at last year’s Dubai 2022 Fazza World Cup. Image Credit: Supplied

The Egyptian will be making his season debut in Dubai aiming for a sixth world title at his seventh World Championships participation. Meanwhile, Perez will be aiming for the fifth gold medal.

China, Jordan, Nigeria athletes in focus

Among others, Jordanian Paralympic champions Omar Qarada (men’s up to 49kg) and Abdelkareem Khattab (men’s up to 97kg), who broke three world records in the last 2022 World Cup in Dubai will be in focus.

Chinese and Nigerian athletes are also expected to dominate in their categories with Paralympic and World champions will be in action in Elite category that begin on Wednesday (23 August).

A colourful opening ceremony, highlighted by UAE’s journey in the world of Parasport, opened the championships on Monday evening.