Rio de Janeiro: Siamand Rahman’s most serious bid yet to become the first Paralympian to lift more than 300 kilos will be one of the highlights of the Rio Games.
And having powerlifted the equivalent of three baby elephants, the 28-year-old Iranian believes he is on course for his attempt on September 14.
Rahman set a world record of 280kg when he took the over 107kg class gold medal in London four years ago. He won the title by 38kg from his nearest rival.
He has since set eight more records. Rahman’s current best of 296kg dates from the powerlifting World Cup in Dubai in February.
But he failed at 301kg in London and did not try for the elusive 300kg at the Asian Paralympics in South Korea in 2014.
“It is on my agenda to reach records above 350 kilos and I intend to set the historic record of 400 kilograms,” said Rahman, who has been disabled since birth.
Rahman has already been filmed lifting more than 300kg in training and his nearest rival, Keun Bae Chun of South Korea said that winning a gold medal at Rio 2016 is “almost impossible”.
Rahman acknowledged that he is feeling the pressure of expectations however.
“I am working hard for more than a year to set a historic record in Rio,” Rahman told the Iranian Paralympics website.
“I am fit at the moment and I work hard at training ahead of Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Seeing people happy is priceless.”
Paralympic powerlifting is a bench press contest. Athletes lay flat on a specially designed bench and have to lift the weighted bar above the chest and return the bar under control to the starting position.
Rahman says that his records come from “a god-given talent.”