May 19 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Tottenham’s Ali Jawad is revelling in the best performance of his life after winning the British Powerlifting Championships for the seventh time – and setting three national records.
Competing in the 60kg category at Stoke Mandeville Stadium on Saturday, the 23-year-old from St Ann’s Road beat the British record of 172kg with his first lift.
Raising 173kg, he went on to lift 178kg and then 181kg, hauling more than three times his own bodyweight and comfortably retaining his national title.
Jawad, who was born without legs and suffers from Crohn’s disease, has won the British Championships every year since 2005 – apart from 2009, when he was unable to compete due to illness.
And he admits that his record-breaking weekend will have got his rivals’ attention as he gears up to London 2012.
“I’m really happy, it was the best performance of my life,” said Jawad, who has been named in GB’s Powerlifting team.
“Lifting 181kg is a Paralympic record at 60kg – and I don’t think able-bodied athletes will get anywhere near that either.
“The world’s going to see what I’ve done and I think I’ve given them an indication of how much I’ve improved over the last few months.
“It’s a massive confidence boost ahead of London. I’ve had a very good 13 weeks of training, which I haven’t had in the past because of my Crohn’s. I’ve been training since February so I’m feeling really good at the moment.
“In my weight class (56kg) the Paralympic medals are usually between 182kg and 207kg – anything over 185kg wins medals, so I’m fairly close.”
Jawad’s feat on Saturday is even more impressive because he went into the national competition intent on “holding back”, and focusing on his technique rather than weight.
Having been disqualified for failing to hold the weight on his chest, or ‘pause’, during a Paralympic qualifying tournament in Dubai in February, Jawad was keen to get three white lights for each of his three lifts – and succeeded.
“I got nine white lights, which I haven’t done for about four years so I was really pleased about that,” said Jawad, who started powerlifting at Wood Green Weightlifting Club.
“It’s my best technical performance since then – maybe ever – and that was my target going into the tournament. The records were just a bonus.”
Jawad is also having to avoid nerves and stress, which are harmful to his intestines due to his Crohn’s disease.
However, he says that the increased chances of illness before London 2012 are helping to keep him grounded.
“I didn’t really feel any pressure at the weekend, because I was concentrating on my technique rather than weight, so I was just able to have some fun,” he said.
“If I’m in contention for a medal at the Games I’ll be nervous on the day, but if I’m not in contention I’ll be pretty relaxed.
“I’m going into it with low expectations. There’s still 13 weeks to go and anything could happen with my Crohn’s.
“I don’t know how much my rivals have improved either. The last time I saw them was in
February, in Dubai, and they’ll be working hard too.”