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Paralympic Powerlifting is one of the Paralympic Movement’s fastest growing sports. The sport represents the ultimate test of upper body strength with athletes lifting up to three times their own bodyweight.

Para Powerlifting is open to female and male athletes who have one or more of eight eligible physical impairments.

Lifters selected to represent Great Britain at Tokyo 2020

ParalympicsGB has confirmed the selection of five Powerlifters who will compete at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. You can read the full story here.

Ali Jawad

Find out more about Ali's career here

Zoe Newson

Find out more about Zoe's career here

Micky Yule

Find out more about Micky's career here

Louise Sugden

Find out more about Louise's career here

Olivia Broome

Find out more about Olivia's career here

A quick guide to Para Powerlifting at Tokyo 2020

In Para Powerlifting, athletes assume a supine position (flat on their back) on a specially designed bench. After taking the bar at arms-length with locked elbows and the bar under control, the athlete waits for a brief moment for the Chief Referee’s signal. After receiving the signal "start", the athlete must lower the bar to the chest, hold it motionless, touching and not sinking on the chest, and then press it upwards evenly, with an equal extension of both the arms with locked elbows. When held motionless and controlled in this position, the audible signal "rack" shall be given, and the bar is returned to the rack. After a moment of intense anticipation, the athlete receives the lift decision from the referees.

During the competition, each athlete has three attempts to record their heaviest lift successfully against the others in their bodyweight category, divided by three distinct rounds. The order the athletes compete in is from the lowest lift attempt weight requested to the highest. If athletes choose the same lifting weight, the athlete with the lowest lot draw number will begin. The lot draw number is a random number allocated to each athlete and also used for the order of the kit check and weigh-in processes.

Each athlete has two minutes to start their lift attempt. An athlete’s coach may accompany the athlete to assist them onto and leaving the bench and with strapping but during the lift attempt, they must stay in the outlined box near the lifting area.

If an athlete’s lift is successful, then the attempt weight for the next round must be raised by a minimum of 1kg. If an athlete’s lift is unsuccessful, then the lifting weight can be the same until the lift is successful. If an athlete’s lift can break a record, then the attempt can be increased by 0.5kg; however, the recorded result would be rounded down to the nearest full kilogram.

At the Paralympic Games athletes are split by gender in 10 different bodyweight categories. The lifter who lifts the highest weight in each category wins with the top three each receiving medals.

There will be a total of 180 athletes at Tokyo 2020.

The top 8 ranked male athletes, and top 8 ranked female athletes in each bodyweight category listed on the world Para Powerlifting Paralympic ranking list will obtain a direct qualification slot in their respective medal event. This consists of 80 male and 80 female athletes. Only lifters who compete within prerequisite events (e.g. World Championships) held throughout the four year cycle are eligible via this route. 

The ranking lists are sorted by each athlete’s best single result. If two athletes are tied on the same weight, then the lifter with the lowest bodyweight ranks ahead.

20 Bipartite qualification slots will also be granted in either gender on a discretionary basis by World Para Powerlifting.

There will be a total of 10 weight classes (10 for men’s and 10 for women’s) at Tokyo 2020. The competitions will take place in the Tokyo International Forum.  Check out the table below to find out when each one is scheduled.




Men's -49 kg

26 August

Women's -41 kg 

26 August

Women's -45 kg

26 August

Men's -54 kg

26 August

Men's -59 kg

27 August

Women's -50 kg

27 August

Women's -55 kg

27 August

Men's -65 kg

27 August

Men's -72 kg

28 August

Women's -61 kg

28 August

Women's -67 kg

28 August

Men's -80 kg

28 August

Men's -88 kg

29 August

Women's -73 kg 

29 August

Women's -79 kg

29 August

Men's -97 kg

29 August

Men's -107 kg

30 August

Women's -86 kg

30 August

Women's +86 kg

30 August

Men's +107 kg

30 August



Great Britain has won 29 medals in Para Powerlifting at the Paralympic Games. This breaks down into 8 gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze medals.  The tally also includes medals won in Paralympic Weightlifting, an earlier incarnation of the sport.

Emma Brown is the most successful gold medalist having been crowned Paralympic champion twice, first in Sydney 2000 and again at Athens 2004.

Ralph Rowe has won the most medals winning five in six Paralympic appearances including gold in 1972.


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