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Para powerlifting

Para powerlifting is a bench press competition that tests upper body strength. There is only one sport class in powerlifting, but the athletes compete in different weight categories.  

Weightlifting was on the Paralympic programme at the Tokyo 1964 Games as a men’s event, then gradually gave way to powerlifting before it was officially replaced in 1992. It was not until the Sydney 2000 Games that a women’s event was added.  

Brief overview of the rules 

Each lifter chooses the weight to load on to the bar. The lifter removes the bar from the racks and, at the referee’s command, lowers the bar to their chest, pauses, then presses it upwards until their arms are fully extended, with their elbows locked (subject to any medical condition). When the referee considers that the athlete has completed the lift, they give the rack command and the lifter can place the bar back on the racks. The three judges then indicate whether this “attempt” was successful or unsuccessful. Athletes are given three attempts and the athlete who lifts the heaviest weight wins.

There are 20 powerlifting events – 10 weight categories for both men and women. There is no classification.

Further information about paralympic classification

Eligible impairments 

  • Orthopaedic disability
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Neurological disability
  • Paraplegia and tetraplegia
  • Evolving neurological disability


Number: OPEN: by weight and body category.

Events in 2024

The para powerlifting events will take place between the 4th of September and the 8th of September 2024.

Women’s events

  • Up to 41kg
  • Up to 45kg
  • Up to 50kg
  • Up to 55kg
  • Up to 61kg
  • Up to 67kg
  • Up to 73kg
  • Up to 79kg
  • Up to 86kg
  • +86kg

Men’s events

  • Up to 49kg
  • Up to 54kg
  • Up to 59kg
  • Up to 65kg
  • Up to 72kg
  • Up to 80kg
  • Up to 88kg
  • Up to 97kg
  • Up to 107kg
  • +107kg

Venue in 2024

International federation 

The sport is governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and coordinated by the international federation.

World Para Powerlifting

© Michael Steele/Getty Images

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