Three Weightlifting Wales Para Powerlifters have recently returned from the World Para Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai. The event is held yearly at the fantastic facilities of the Dubai club for the disabled. The competition saw Athletes from countries including China, Holland, Japan, Malaysia and Iran. Many of the competitors were participants at the recent Paralympic Games in Rio, this included several medallists.

The World Cup was the first opportunity in 2017, to qualify for the World Championships which will be held in Mexico later in the year. The World Championships is a mandatory competition for anyone with desires to compete in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. It was also the first opportunity for the Welsh Lifters to try and qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. This just highlights how important the World Cup events are in the Para Powerlifting calendar. The Welsh Athletes Shaun Stocker, Sean Gaffney and Nerys Pearce, arrived on Sat 25th Feb which allowed them all a few days to recover, go through the stringent classification process, attend the Anti-Doping seminar and get in some final training sessions.

Shaun Stocker was first to lift in the -65kg category. Shaun was first to lift in the category, his opener of 110kg looked solid but was unfortunately deemed a no lift. This was unfortunately to be the same for Shaun on the 2nd and 3rd attempts. This highlighted how stringent the Judging was and provided a huge learning experience for all involved.

Wednesday saw 2016 Rio Olympian Micky Yule lifting, also trying to post a competitive total to ensure his qualification for the Commonwealth Games. All the Welsh Athletes were out in force to support their fellow Celt and Welsh Coach Chris Williams assisted Neil Crosbie, Micky’s Coach. Micky had a fantastic performance lifting 185kg to secure a well-deserved Bronze.

Thursday saw Nerys Pearce competing in a highly competitive -73kg category. Nerys missed her first lift of 65kg on a marginal call. Her second attempt at 67kg was successful with white lights across the board. A fantastic effort considering this hits the qualification standard for the World Championships. The final lift of 73kg was deemed a no lift, on a technicality.

The final lifter of the week was Sean Gaffney in the 107+kg category. Sean was by far the lightest in the group, with some lifters over 40kg heavier.

Due to how stringent the refereeing had been all week, Sean opened light for him with 160kg. A perfect lift saw a rare 3 white lights. This was replicated on Sean’s 2nd lift of 165kg. The 3rd lift saw Sean get 2 white lights for a highly impressive 172kg.

A highly impressive performance throughout the competition saw the Welsh cohort praised from the chairman of World Para Powerlifting and alliances with other NGB’s and lifters were forged.

The competition offered a fantastic experience and all Athletes and Staff learnt a great deal. As well as the competition, there was also a full Education package, with Anti-Doping, Classifier, Coaching and Technical Officials courses being held. This saw Welsh Coach Chris Williams attend and pass the Elite Coaching Course, the highest qualification in Para Powerlifting.

A huge thank you to Lisa Edwards from Blind veterans UK, who attended as assistant Team manager and did a fantastic job. Attendance at the World Cup was made possible for the Welsh lifters with support from Blind Veterans UK and Help for Heroes. A huge thank you to these two amazing charities.