Olivia Broome won bronze and Ali Jawad reached a milestone all of his own on a momentous morning for British powerlifting at the Tokyo International Forum.
The two athletes are at opposite ends of the scale when it comes to experience, with Broome making her Paralympic debut and Jawad defying odds to make his fourth Games.
The 32-year-old won a long battle with Crohn’s disease by simply reaching the platform at the Paralympics, where he finished sixth in the men’s -59kg category.
Jawad, who won silver in Rio, successfully lifted 163kg and then 164kg, before trying and failing at 166kg.
“I’m very proud to have made it here because I was never supposed to make it,” he said.
“I said all along my medal was to get here and I’ve done that. I don’t have to have a medal around my neck to represent the journey that I’ve been through.
“I’ve managed to take Crohn’s to the very limits of what anyone’s been able to take it before and managed to survive and I’m here. I’m very proud.”
The Londoner secured qualification for the Games at the Tbilisi World Cup in May with a 170kg lift, his best since lifting a then-world record of 190kg at Rio 2016.
Jawad stayed at the venue to support compatriot Broome, who secured a brilliant bronze medal in the -50kg weight division.
The Chorley star produced a personal best lift of 107kg when it mattered most, having managed an equal lifetime high of 106kg at the first attempt.
She then watched Ukraine’s Lidiia Soloviova fail to lift 108kg to confirm her place on the medal rostrum.
“I’m so happy,” said Broome. “I couldn’t believe it when I came off the platform – I haven’t stopped smiling.
“The lift itself felt great. Opening on my personal best was a little bit daunting, but I’ve done it before, I’ve done it plenty of times and I had to tell myself that in the warm-up.
“It was just like we practised it in training. It was nervy but also exciting.”
Broome feels the postponement of the Paralympics played into her hands but she still came to Japan considering it as a study in getting used to the Games environment.
“I came here treating these Games as just for experience with a long career ahead of me,” she said.
“If the Games weren’t postponed it would have been a different story, but a lot changed and now I’m here.”
Images courtesy: imagecomms