|Lê Văn Công celebrates his successful lift that brought him gold at the 2023 Para Powerlifting World Championship on August 21 in Duabai, the UAE. Photo paralympic.org|
HÀ NỘI Elite athlete Lê Văn Công of Việt Nam has set his sights on Paralympic gold and new records after he was back to the top podium at the world championships.
Công won a gold medal in the Para Powerlifting World Championship's men's 49kg category in Dubai, the UAE.
Coming to the tournament as the first runner-up, former world winner Công faced 33 competitors. But his main rivals were Omar Qarada of Jordan, Zheng Yu of China, Jhonny Andres Morales Gonzalez of Colombia, and Abdullah Kayainar of Turkey.
Former Paralympic champion Công managed to lift 172kg in the first attempt. He failed in the second when raised the weight to 176kg but was successful in his final lift.
He beat defending champion and Tokyo Paralympic winner Qarada with 175kg in second place, and Kayainar of Turkey with 173kg in third.
"I am extremely happy as I have had to wait nearly six years since 2017 to take the world championship title again," said Công, who excitedly punched the air after his attempt was recognised.
"I saw the same rivals who I have competed against for many years. But this year, there were many strong athletes who reduced weights to compete in my category and also new faces in the tournament," he told Việt Nam News in a text message.
Công was full of confidence and had a strong self-belief that he could do it all again due to his abilities, background and knowledge of rivals and he did it in style at the Hilton Dubai – Al Habtoor City.
|Lê Văn Công's last World Championships gold medal came six years ago in Mexico 2017. He won his second one on August 23 in Dubai. —Photo paralympic.org|
The Vietnamese was a record holder of the world championship as he lifted 183.5kg in 2017 in Mexico and the Paralympics lifted 183kg at the Rio Games in 2016.
Having competed in international competitions for many years, he has clearly knows his rivals, especially arch-rival Qarada.
Công just lost his top places in the two largest events to Qarada because of his long-time shoulder injury. This year, he totally recovered from the injury, then there was no more challenge for him.
"My injury was totally over. I was confident ahead of the competition. My second attempt failed just because of my mistake as when I lifted the barbell up my arms were not in balance. But I immediately corrected and succeeded in the third attempt," said Công who did not take the heavier weight as he worried about his injury recurring.
"At that time Qarada had not lifted his last which he set 177kg, 1kg heavier than mine. However, I knew him. I watched him during practicing in the warm-up area and believed that he could not make it."
It was Công's second world gold medal and he also paid his bitter loss to Qarada at the Tokyo Games. Công and the Jordani athlete lifted the same weight of 173kg but Qarada won because he was 100g lighter than Công in the weigh-in.
|Lê Văn Công seen competing for gold at the Para Powerlifting World Championships 2023. — Photo paralympic.org|
“I believe today I had better mental strength than my competitors. This is a special win as it has come after a long time. After my injury in 2018, I have trained and pushed myself very hard. This gold is a big motivation going ahead as we look to qualify for the Paralympics."
The world championship is one of the tournaments where athletes collect their points to qualify for the Paris Paralympics in 2024.
Công is Việt Nam's top hope for gold in all international tournaments for athletes with disabilities after clinching his first major title at the 2014 Asian Para Games. Công has been on the top of the rankings for almost a decade and secured medals in all events that he has taken part in.
His next target will be the Asian Para Games in October in China and the Paris Paralympics next year in France.
|Lê Văn Công's second world championship gold medal. Photo courtesy of Lê Văn Công|
"I have already qualified for the Paris Games after earning one gold and one silver from the world championship and one silver from the Asian championship. But I still have to compete in events of the International Paralympic Committee per regulation. Names of qualifiers are revealed until after the last mandatory event," said Công.
"It is months prior to the Paris event. I hope that I will not meet the problem with injury and I will set more records." VNS
The Para Powerlifting World Championship features nearly 473 athletes with disabilities from 80 countries and territories, competing in 10 weight categories each for men and women.
Việt Nam sent four athletes to the tournament which lasts until August 30.
Prior to Lê Văn Công's gold, Đặng Thị Linh Phượng won a bronze in the women's 50kg with a lift of 103kg.
She was below Olivia Broome of Great Britain with 112kg, and Wei Yi of China with 105kg.
Two other lifters are ASEAN Para Games champions Nguyễn Bình An in the men's 54kg, and Châu Hoàng Tuyết Loan in the women's 55kg. VNS