Abdelkareem Khattab of Jordan took gold in the men’s -88kg para-powerlifting competition, setting a new Paralympic record in the Tokyo International Forum on Sunday.
Despite facing a strong challenge from the lighter Jixiong Ye from China, who attempted to follow Khattab’s weights, the Jordanian’s ambitious 231kg final lift proved too much for Ye.
Khattab roared as the announcement was made that verified his final lift. The effort was enough to set a new Paralympic record, and place him 11kg ahead of the field, with Ye claiming silver.
“It’s a very nice feeling, I am so proud of myself,” said Khattab told The National after his win. “Thanks be to God. I competed with the best in the world, and thanks to God I won the gold medal."
Bagging the gold and setting a new Paralympic record topped a successful year for the 30-year-old from Az Zarqa. In June, he smashed the world record, lifting 240kg in the World Championships in Dubai.
Khattab had his sights set on another world record attempt, but the extra 10kg needed to break it may have felt out of reach by the time the final attempt came round.
“We were trying for the world record, but this time it escaped us," he said. "The feelings are still very beautiful.”
Jordan almost picked up a second medal in the Forum on Sunday. In the men’s -97kg competition, Mutaz AlJuneidi narrowly missed out on the podium, being pipped instead by Iran’s Seyedhamed Solhipouravanji who dramatically leap-frogged into the silver medal spot on his third and final attempt.
Khattab’s is Jordan’s third medal, and second powerlifting gold, of the Paralympic games after Omar Sami Qarada sealed the win in the men’s -49kg competition on Thursday.
It was a good result too for former world record-holder Hany Abdelhady from Egypt. The London 2012 Champion’s first lift of 214kg was just enough to win him the bronze medal, taking Egypt’s total medal tally to 6, all from powerlifting.
Meanwhile it was a disappointing competition for UAE’s Mohammed Khamis Khalaf, who withdrew from the competition after failing to attempt his first lift. After seeming to get himself in position to make the press, the reigning champion looked uncomfortable and waved over his support. He left the stage looking disappointed, waving to the attendees in the reduced capacity hall.
On Saturday, veteran table tennis player, Khetam Kamal Hasan Abuawad picked up her third bronze medal for Jordan.
Before Tokyo, Jordan had only won gold once before at the Paralympics, when Maha Bargouthi won the women's singles table tennis competition in Sydney 2000.