Indian powerlifters shine in Asia-Oceania Open Championships; Ashok, Sudhir qualify for Para Asiad

New Delhi, Jun 21 (PTI) Powerlifters Ashok and Sudhir booked their tickets for the Hangzhou Asian Para Games as India finished with a rich haul of 22 medals, including six gold, at the Asia-Oceania Open Championships in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

Ashok bagged two gold in men’s up to 65kg (total score) in Asia and Open events while Joby Mathew took four yellow metals in men’s under 59kg (best lift and total score) in Master’s Asia and Open events.

On the final day of individual events on Monday, Sudhir claimed a bronze medal in men’s upto 88kg with a best lift of 214kg in the second round to finish behind Paralympic and world champion Abdelkareem Khattab of Jordan (241kg) and China’s Jixiong Ye (233kg).

Overall, the Indian team claimed six gold, four silver and 12 bronze medals. China finished on top with 29 medals, including 21 gold.

Ashok and Sudhir will now join Parmjeet Kumar (men’s under 49kg) and Sakina Khatun (women’s under 45kg) in the Hangzhou Asian Para Games, which has been postponed due to COVID-19 situation in China, and are likely to make the cut for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games owing to their improvement in world rankings.

“This has been the best performance by our powerlifters in an international championship. We not only won several medals; 2 powerlifters made the cut for Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games and are expected to make the cut for Paris 2024. It was a very satisfying performance from the team,” national coach JP Singh said in a release.

He informed that the para powerlifters are now focused on doing well at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“The aim will be to win at least 2-3 medals at the CWG.”

Parmjeet, Khatun, Sudhir, Geeta and Manpreet Kaur will represent India in the Para Powerlifting events at the Birmingham event, starting July 28.