Earlier today in the men’s -72kg class at the Rio Paralympics, China’s Lei Liu set a pair of Paralympic Records on his way to winning gold in the men’s -72kg powerlifting event at the 2016 Summer Paralympics with a best lift of 221kg. The gold was his third in a row at the Paralympic Games, after winning gold at home in Beijing on a best lift of 225.0 kg in the -75 kg weight class and gold at the London Games in the -67.5 kg weight class with a best lift of 218kg.
Liu had the heaviest first weight attempt in the event at 215kg. Going in, if he was successful, he would set a new Paralympic Record. After getting a good lift, the crowd erupted into cheers and stamped their feet in joy at seeing the record broken. On his second attempt, he went for 221kg, 1kg more than Iraq’s Rasool Mohsin who had bettered him in the lift before to set his own Paralympic Record. Liu appeared to have few problems in upping his own game with his successful lift. In his third and final lift, he went for 229kg for a new world record. The weight was high to insure he’d be Mohsin should the Iraqi have been able to successful lift 229kg on his own attempt. Despite missing because of hesitation in bringing the bar up straight and smoothly, he was unable to get a clean lift. He was afford a fourth attempt because he had set a new Paralympic Record in his second attempt. For this attempt, he dropped to 227.5kg. This was because right before his own world record attempt, Mohsin set a world record at 227kg on his fourth attempt. With a blank look on his face during the lift, he managed what looked like a clean lift and certainly appeared to think so following it, pumping his arms in pleasure and waving to the crowd. The lift though was ruled unsuccessful.
Liu took up the sport when he was 15, after a powerlifting coach visited his hometown of Zaozhuang looking for potential powerlifters he could train up to the elite level. Liu went on to make his national team debut in 2003. He spends two hours a day training. Ahead of important international competitions, Liu takes time off his job at China’s Cultural Affairs and Sports Federation for People with Impairments to train full time, putting in four hour days at the gym.