Preview: Stellar field of Para powerlifters set for IWAS World Games 2022


Para powerlifting is set to feature at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games 2022 in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal, from 25-28 November, for the first time since 2011.

An impressive line-up of lifters features four Paralympic medallists and a total of 11 Paralympians amongst the more than 50 athletes set to compete.

Powerlifting will be broadcast live on the IWAS website from 26-27 November and will showcase men’s and women’s events from light to heavyweights.

Let’s take a look at some of the key names to look out for.

Hoccine Bettir, Algeria

Bettir claimed bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics after making his Paralympic debut at Rio 2016.

Now firmly on the road to Paris 2024, the Algerian will be eyeing up a Paralympic silver or even gold in the men’s up to 65kg.

Bettir also arrives in Portugal as the reigning world champion having collected his first title in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2021. He finally got his hands on the gold after securing bronze and then silver in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

Simone Fragoso, Portugal

Whilst not a Paralympic medallist, Fragoso delivers an interesting story. Not only is she competing for the host country, Fragoso also switched to powerlifting after competing in Para swimming at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

The best of the rest

As well as the Paralympic medallists, a series of other athletes enter this edition of the IWAS World Games as Paralympians.

They include Algeria’s Samir Geurioua in the women’s up to 45kg and Georgia’s Ahmad Razm Razr in the men’s up to 80kg.

Two Kenyans – Hellen Wawira Kariuki and Gabriel Magu Wanjiku – made their debuts at Tokyo 2020 in the women’s up to 41kg and men’s up to 71kg respectively.

Hellen Wawira Kariuki in action during the Powerlifting Women’s 41kg category at the Tokyo International Forum. Photo: OIS/Joe Toth

And the United Arab Emirates’ duo of Ahmad Khamis Albaloushi and Mohammed Khamis Khalaf will compete in the men’s over 107kg and up to 97kg. Khalaf is an old-hand on the bench having competed at Sydney 2000 whilst Albaloushi has two Paralympics under his belt from 2016 and 2020.

About the IWAS World Games

Designed to give aspiring Paralympians and emerging athletes their first taste of international competition, the Games have helped produce many of the world’s big name stars.

It is the formula of established athletes competing against the next generation that makes the IWAS World Games so unique and helped it to develop into one of the world’s largest sporting events for athletes with physical impairments.