Paralympic Powerlifting is a bench press competition, with athletes lying flat on a specially designed bench and then aiming to lower a horizontally weighted bar from arms length, to the chest and return the bar under control to the same starting position.
The rules on Powerlifting are very strict. The weighted bar is placed on two racks and the lifter must take the bar, assisted or unassisted, until the chief referee commands ‘start’ (this occurs when the arms are fully extended and locked). The lifter must then lower it to his or her chest, hold it motionless - called a pause - and then press the bar upwards evenly to arms’ length where both arms should be locked out simultaneously until the chief referee issues the command ‘rack’. The three judges will then indicate a successful or unsuccessful lift by illuminating white or red lights.
Athletes may make three lifts during the competition and must increase the weight attempted by at least 1kg following a successful lift. Each athlete has three attempts at each lift. A fourth lift may also be attempted for a record, but this does not count towards the final result of the competition.
Athletes are allowed a maximum of two minutes between when their name is called for their turn and the start of the lift. Athletes must also leave the competition platform within 30 seconds of completing their lift.
The athlete producing the greatest result within their category and within the three scoring competition lifts during the competition takes gold. In the event of a tie, the winner is the athlete that weighed in the lightest and lifted the joint heaviest weight. If both athletes have an identical body weight, a reweigh is done.
There are 10 different weight categories for both men and women. In Powerlifting, athletes are classified by bodyweight alone, which means athletes with different impairments compete for the same medals. Athletes are weighed two hours before their competition.
Each competition is a straight final, although two groups are held in weight divisions where there are more than eight competitors. When there are two ‘flights’, or groups, these are known as A and B and are predetermined by athletes’ world rankings. The B group will always lift first and the winner is on the whole most likely to come from the A group.
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