IPC Reschedules Para Swimming and Powerlifting World Championships

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced new dates for the World Para Swimming and World Para Powerlifting Championships to be held in Mexico City as the 2017 Para Sport Festival.

The events were postponed due to the earthquake in Mexico City last month and will now take place from the 27th of November to the 7th of December. Both events will remain in Mexico City with no worries about the venues being damaged in the earthquake.

Originally the event was slated to begin on the 30th of September through to the 6th of October, but the earthquake which hit Mexico City on the 19th of September made it an unsafe environment to host the event, leading to the postponement.

After announcing the changed event date teams now have a new date to submit their final squads to the IPC, they will have until Sunday (October 8th) to finalize and register their squads ahead of the events.

“After extensive dialogue, it is clear that both the Local Organising Committee and City Mexico are eager and very passionate about rescheduling the 2017 Para Sport Festival,” said IPC President Andrew Parsons. They want to show to the world that Mexico City is open and that life and business is continuing. At the same time, the feedback from the IPC membership is that they are keen for the Championships to go ahead.”

“After carrying out all of the necessary safety checks on the venues, team hotels and all related infrastructure, we have decided to reschedule the Championships for two months later than originally planned.”

The decision was taken as part of solidarity with Mexico City, to continue the IPCs effort to support the city as it recovers from the earthquake, with the Agitos Foundation raising $40,000.

 

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Six Paralympians Nominated for Laureus Sports Award

The Nominees (Photo: International Paralympic Committee)

Six Paralympians have been nominated for the Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award, with the shortlist announced on Wednesday. The Six Paralympians won a combined 22 medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and are deserving nominees of what is the highest individual honor for para sport athletes.

The first athlete in the list is the most decorated athlete of Rio 2016 in Belarussian swimmer Ihar Boki, who dominated the S13 classification. Boki claimed six gold and one bronze in Rio with dominant performances in the S13 classification.

Another swimmer joins Boki on the list as he is joined by New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe who continued to do well in the S10 classification. Pascoe won three gold and two silver in Rio, pushing her to become the most successful New Zealander in Paralympic history, bringing her total to nine gold and six silver.

The strongest male Paralympian in history is also in the short list as Iranian powerlifter Siamand Rhaman has been placed on the list. He became the first Paralympian to lift 300kg doing so at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Cuba received their first nomination for the Laureus Sports awards in this category as T12 sprinter Omara Durand received a nomination. She won three gold medals in Rio and broke the 100m world record, bringing it down to 11.40.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug was tabbed for the shortlist as a reward for his phenomenal season, beyond just the Rio Paralympic Games. Hug won the Paralympic marathon and became the first man to win the marathon Grand Slam, claiming the Boston, London, Chicago, and New York marathons.

Rounding out the list is Italian teenaged fencer Beatrice Vio who managed two medals in her Paralympic debut an individual gold and a team bronze. The list was decided by the IPC Governing Board who narrowed things down to six, with the winner announced on February 14th.

IPC Rebrands Ten Sports

The new logos (Source: International Paralympic Committee)

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) currently serves as the International Federation for ten sports and on Wednesday they announced a major change. Effective immediately all ten sports have had a rebranding, now labelled “world para” instead of “IPC” and have had logo changes.

The new logos really seek to clarify the difference between the para sports and their able-bodied equivalents. The new logos feature athletes with impairment in them to reflect the para sports nature of the sports.

With these new logos and new names, the IPC logo will now not be featured within the international federation logos. That means that the IPC logo will now be exclusively used with the Paralympic Games along with the word Paralympic.

Changes are taking effect immediately but it will take a full year before the changes are fully implemented. This is because the winter seasons are already under way so the world cup events for those sports will remain under the old branding with only the world championships receiving the new change.

Three sports, ice hockey, shooting and dance sport are facing significant changes due to the rebrand, changing sport names. Ice hockey will change from ice sledge hockey to just para ice hockey after requests from that sport’s community.

Shooting will face a unique change, in order to avoid confusion with parachuting the international federation will be called ‘world shooting para sport’. Dance sport involves a sport name change, moving from wheelchair dance sport, reflecting that athletes that are not wheelchair bound can participate and reflecting a hope to include standing athletes who wear prosthetic limbs.

Uzbek Powerlifter Avoids suspension for Meldonium use

Photo: IPC Powerlifting

Uzbek powerlifter Raza Kuzieva has been sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) following a doping violation, the IPC announced on Wednesday. Kuzieva was found to have trace amounts of meldonium in her system.

Meldonium has been a controversial addition to the banned substance list and at the time of Kuzieva’s positive test it was only on the banned substance list for five weeks. Meldonium is commonly used in medications, and is the substance that Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova was banned for taking.

Despite the breach in the IPC doping code the IPC has determined that due to the breach being only trace amounts, perhaps showing that the Uzbek had stopped using the substance since it was added to the list and her body had not finished flushing it from her system, Kuzieva will not serve a suspension. She will still be faced with a penalty and all her results from 2016 have been erased.

This is the second time that Kuzieva has been found to breach the anti-doping code, yet the IPC decided that there was no fault on Kuzieva’s part. As such, the suspension which would be standard in such an instance will not apply, but Kuzieva must surely be on thin ice with the doping authorities now.

With such a lenient sentence Kuzieva has agreed to the sanctions given to her, meaning there will be no trial that could have risked an actual suspension. Kuzieva came third at the event she tested positive at, the IPC Powerlifting World Cup event in Dubai, and as such Indonesian lifter Rani Puji Astuti will receive the bronze medal from that event.

With the ban every other result since February 16th 2016 has been erased, including that bronze medal which has since been returned. Despite that she will not serve a suspension and is free to continue her career, however surely a third violation, even one as minor as this one will surely lead to a lengthy ban from competition.

Powerfliters Benefit From Charitable Donations

Photo: Kit us out

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Powerlifting division revealed on Wednesday the extent of assistance from the charity “kit us out” during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The charity allowed for funding of 16 lifting suits to be supplied to different athletes at the Games.

Those 16 athletes come from 13 different countries and will help their programs grow to increase the diversity at Powerlifting events. The intent of the program is to assist developing countries in the sport of powerlifting and to encourage that development.

The countries benefiting from the donations were Cuba, El Salvador, Ghana, Indonesia, Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Mongolia, Namibia, Nicaragua, Philippines and Togo. A diverse group of developing nations throughout the world of powerlifting.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games was the second event where such donations were issued in the past 12 months, following on from the European Open Championships in 2015. That is why no more European nations were given donations in Rio, as they’d already had an opportunity.

The donation program began in London four years ago, which was the first place athletes from various sports were provided with equipment. Following London the organization headed north and gave out equipment at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

Events are already scheduled for the next two years to receive a donation, with 2017 seeing donations at the World Championships in Mexico City. 2018 sees three zonal championships take place that will receive donations, the Americas, European and Asian Championships, all receiving the donations to grow the sport.

Rio 2016 Preview: Powerlifting

Sport: Powerlifting

Events: 20 (10 men, 10 women)

Classification: Athletes in powerlifting have a physical impairment affecting their legs or hips and are separated based on weight. Most weight categories are new to the 2016 Paralympic Games after an adjustment following London 2012

Venue: Riocentro

Athlete Quota: 180 (100 men, 80 women)

International Federation: International Paralympic Committee (IPC) – Powerlifting

Preview

In the men’s 49kg category it seems to be a two horse race between Cong Le of Vietnam and Omar Qarada of Jordan, the only two men to have lifted above 175kg. Another Vietnamese lifter is the favorite in the men’s 54kg category having lifted 180kg in February while Dimitros Bakochristos of Greece is close behind with 177kg.

For the men’s 59kg category it is all about Sherif Osman, the only lifter in the category to have lifted above 200kg, with 210kg in Dubai in February. The men’s 65kg category is tight, the tightest in the Games, with any of the top six all possible of winning medals. That category is led by two Chinese lifters with Peng Hu top with 201kg and Xuefeng Lu with 196kg.

In the 72kg category, Lei Liu seems the clear favorite for gold but there are three men close behind him trying to fight for medals. The 80kg has one very clear favorite, Majid Farzin of Iran who has lifted 236kg this year, with Xiafei Gu the only probable challenger for the title.

The men’s 88kg category seems to be a race between four looking to win the three medals, with Seyedhamed Solhipouravanji of Iran leading the way with a 232kg lift, but Egyptian Hany Abdelhady is just one kilogram behind. The Men’s 97kg has a clear leader in Mohamed Eldib who managed a 243kg lift in Dubai in February.

The 107kg seems to be Pavlos Mamatos’ to lose with the Greek lifter managing 237kg, pushing him at least 10kg ahead. No Paralympian has ever lifted 300kg, but the favorite in the men’s 107kg is talking about getting that record, with Iran’s Siamand Rahman looking to lift 300kg with a previous best of 296kg making him the big favorite for that weight category.

Indonesia’s great hope comes in the women’s 41kg, leading the rankings with a 96kg lift but will face a fight for the gold with Nawal Ramadan from Egypt. The 45kg category looks to be a race between the two Chinese lifters with Dandan Hu and Zhe Cui, the only two lifters over 100kg in the category.

The women’s 50kg category seems to be a three horse race between Egypt’s Rehab Ahmed, Chinas’ Shanshan Shi and Ukraine’s Lidiia Soloviova all sitting within two kilograms on the rankings. Mexico has a clear favorite in the 55kg category in Amalia Perez, who has a 122kg lift from February.

Egypt’s Fatma Omar and China’s Yan Yang are the two favorites for the 61kg category with both lifting over 120kg. China’s Yuijao Tan is the clear favorite for the women’s 67kg category having lifted 136kg in Kuala Lumpur in February.

In the 73kg category France’s Souhad Ghazouani is the clear favorite, coming in with an over 30kg lead on her nearest competitor. The 79kg category is where the Russian absence will be felt as Vera Muratova will be away, that will please the world leader Lili Xu whose lead is even larger now.

The women’s 86kg category is lead commandingly by Randa Mahmoud with a lift of 140kg from the Egyptian. The heaviest women’s category is also lead by an Egyptian lifter as Nadia Ali comes in ranked first with a 141kg lift in Dubai.

Kazakhstan and Iceland Announce Rio 2016 Delegations

Jon Margier Sverisson celebrates his gold medal in London (Source: Iceland Government)

Despite clouds surrounding travel funding to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games two more nations have announced their delegations. Kazakhstan and Iceland announced their squads on Tuesday with Kazakhstan sending 10 and Iceland sending five athletes to Rio.

Kazakhstan are sending four swimmers, three powerlifters and one each in athletics, archery and judo. One of those swimmers, Zulfiya Gabidullina, is a strong medal hope, competing in the S4 category she won two European Championships in May in the 50m and 100m freestyle, setting a world record in the 50m.

After making his major event debut four years ago in Rio Anuar Akhmetov returns after four more years of experience. That included competing in the World and European Championships in the last two years that should see him a bigger competitor in Rio.

Outside of the pool, Kazakhstan’s best hope comes in Judo with Anuar Sariyev flying the flag. Sariyev will be competing in the men’s -60kg category where he is currently ranked fifth in the world.

Iceland’s team is also heavy on swimmers with three of their five strong team competing in the pool. The star of that team is Jon Margeir Sverrisson who looks to defend his 200m freestyle S14 title, coming in after coming second at the world championship last year.

In athletics Iceland will have hopes of a medal with Heigl Sveinsson in the javelin F44, competing in his second Paralympic Games and comes in having won bronze at the 2015 World Championships. The final member of the team is archer Thorsteinn Halldorsson who will make history, the first Icelandic archer to compete in the Paralympic Games, he will shoot in the men’s compound after qualifying in the very last qualification tournament in June.