Kimberley para-powerlifter Ricardo Fitzpatrick is top of the pile in Africa after winning the Classic Bench Press category of the 2016 African Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships in Potchefstroom.
The four-day Championships featured competitors from Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Iran. Teams from Cameroon, Ghana and Egypt had to withdraw due to visa and/or financial constraints.
Fitzpatrick was lifting against rivals from Algeria and Iran in the -83kg class.
A total of 95 entrants lifted in the six events, the largest team being the hosts with 26 men and 22 women.
Fitzpatrick also took second place in the best Raw Bench Presser category where new world record holder Boughalem Ilyas of Algeria pressed a massive 283kg in the 120+ Open Classic event.
The SA team won a total of 47 medals, and set 42 new SA national records and two Commonwealth records.
‘This is my second international title for 2016 after I won the 2016 Arnold Classic Africa Bench Press Championships in May this year,’ said Fitzpatrick who was recently named 2016 Northern Cape Sportsman of the Year with a Disability.
‘The competition in the -83 kg Men was highly competitive. Algeria is the strongest able body powerlifting nation on the continent. Me being the only para-powerlifter at the Championships was a challenge to overcome.
‘It was between me and Algerian Mansouri Abdalaali for the gold, but coach Rodney Anthony let me jump 10kg on my second lift to put more pressure on Mansouri and he couldn’t reach me after I got my second attempt.’
Now he has bigger fish to fry and Tokyo 2020 is on his radar. ‘My Paralympic qualifying starts next year at the 8th Fazza Dubai 2017 Para-Powerlifting World Cup.’