Records fall as powerlifters battle for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games places at test event

Colombia’s Jainer Cantillo set a new continental record in the -80kg category during the Rio 2016 powerlifting test event at Carioca Arena 1 on Friday (22 January). All smiles, the man from the same town (Santa Marta) as Colombian football legend Carlos Valderrama, lifted 195kg, the most ever in the Americas, on the second day of the Rio stage of the 2016 IPC Powerlifting Word Cup in Barra Olympic Park.


Photo: powerlifter

Colombia's Jainer Cantillo took gold in the -80kg category; © Rio 2016/Alex Ferro

Cantillo, 40, dedicated his victory to his eight-year-old daughter Liliana: "I said I was going to win it for her," he said, before thanking every member of his team, saying each one played a crucial part. Having competed at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games, where he came sixth and fourth respectively, Cantillo seemed calm about the prospect of securing his place at the Rio 2016 Games.

"I am thinking about ratifying my place in the rankings, which will need to be about fifth (the top eight in each of the men’s weight categories will be confirmed when qualifying ends on 29 February). I have a Brazilian rival who is doing very well, so I have be careful," he said.

That Brazilian is Evânio Rodrigues, who took silver with 193kg on his first lift, but did not manage to raise 197kg on his next two attempts. Although he was disappointed, Rodrigues he will now focus on improving his rankings (currently ninth) at the Kuala Lumpur stage of the World Cup in February. "I have to train harder and focus in order to make my technique more precise," he said.

Cuba’s Jesus Drake Veja also left his mark on the penultimate day of the event, earning gold in the -88kg catergory, with a personal best lift of 197kg. His victory was all the sweeter as a tight budget meant Rio was the only World Cup stage the small Cuban team could attend.

Once he had lifted the 190kg planned with his coach Ramón Martínez, the tactic was to go big on his third lift, seeing as it would be last chance of the campaign. His success lifted him to fifth in the rankings. "I’m really happy, because I’m now very close to a place at the Paralympic Games here in Rio," he said.; Source: Rio 2016
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