Martina Barbierato eyes 2017 World Championships

Italy’s first powerlifting Paralympian aims to achieve a personal best in Mexico City.

Martina Barbierato Italy's Martina Barbierato broke the junior world record in the women's -55kg competition at the 2013 IPC Powerlifting Open European Championships in Aleksin, Russia. © • IPC

Italy’s Martina Barbierato aims to achieve a new personal best at the 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City which open on 30 September.

The 22-year-old, who competes in the up to 55kg class, delivered the performance of her life at Rio 2016, lifting 92kg as she became Italy’s first ever Paralympian in the sport. Now her sights are set on Mexico.

“I underwent surgery on my tooth few days ago and am still recovering. But I will prepare a training regime for when I am back to practices,” said Barbierato. “I am also following a healthy diet to weigh-in.

“But in order to at least fight for a medal I will need to lift close to 100kg. I still believe reaching the podium is not possible because my category is very competitive.

“Mexico’s multiple Paralympic champion Amalia Perez, Great Britain’s Natalia Blake, Armenia’s Greta Vardanyan and Turkey’s Sibel Cam are some of my main opponents.”

Although she will face strong rivals, Barbierato believes she can perform even better at Mexico City 2017 than she did at last year’s Paralympic Games, where she finished seventh.

“In Rio I was overwhelmed by the emotions. It was a big responsibility and honour to represent my country in such an important event,” she said. “After the Paralympics I took a break because I felt empty. Now I want to come back stronger for Mexico!”

Once the World Championshps are over, Barbierato will focus on qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. But she says one of her biggest dreams has nothing to do with winning a medal.

“I would really like to compete in Rome in front of my home crowd at a major competition. We will see if I can ever fulfill this dream,” she said.

The World Para Powerlifting Championships will take place in Mexico City from 30 September-6 October, with more than 360 powerlifters from 65 countries competing in the Juan de la Barrera Olympic Gymnasium.