This weekend’s British Para Powerlifting Championships is shaping up to be a memorable one for Ali Jawad, who is determined to lay down a marker ahead of Rio 2016.
Jawad, who came within a whisker of winning a medal at London 2012 before having two lifts dismissed to finish fourth, will attempt to lift a personal best mark of 200kg or above at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
The 26-year-old previously held the world record at 190kg for his class, having achieved the standard en route to gold at the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships in Dubai.
That was followed by bronze at last summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with a then-new world best of 194kg, although long-term rival Sherif Othman has since set a new best of 210kg in 2015.
Earlier this year Jawad took gold at the IPC Powerlifting Open Americas Championships in Mexico City although he insists it is success at Rio which is the ultimate driving factor.
“I will be competing at the British Championships where I will be going for a historic weight,” he said.
“Only a handful of people have ever achieved it. It would make me the pound for pound best lifter. I need to bench press 200kg or above.
“I’m feeling in good shape. I think it’s been on the cards for a long time. I’m in good shape in training and hopefully I can show the world that I can do it.
“With Rio around the corner it will be a great marker and show that I’m up there with the top guys challenging for a medal.
“If all goes well next year, by the time it comes to the Gold Coast then Commonwealth gold would be the only major title I was missing.
"Glasgow was a great experience, having it on home soil practically and being in front of the home crowd.
“And then to break two world records that day, that was pretty special. I just remember the crowd going crazy.”
Next month, Jawad will take a quick break from training in order to join in the celebrations for this year’s National Paralympic Day on July 26.
Designed to help continue the legacy of London 2012, the annual event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will feature elite athletics and swimming as well as promoting disability sport, and Jawad admitted he was relishing the chance to be involved.
“Everyone loved the London 2012 Games so it’s great to be able to relive those memories,” he added.
“I have got lots of memories from London and it’s great to go back to the park.
“I think it’s a very important event, especially with Rio being just around the corner.
“It’s good to have one day where we all reflect and hopefully inspire some more people to take up para-sport.
“Hopefully lots of people will come down and support the athletes as well as trying out some different sports they may not have done before.”
© Sportsbeat 2015