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Feature: Rural para-athlete turns tragedy into powerlifting glory

Xinhua


12th September 2023


Feature: Rural para-athlete turns tragedy into powerlifting glory


54-year-old para powerlifter Ma Zhifu pocketed his first gold medal in the recent Paralympic Games in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and says he will keep on challenging himself.


Lying on the bench, Ma Zhifu took a deep breath, lowered the weighted barbell to the chest, held it motionless, and then pressed it upwards with a low grunt.


After three referees raised their white flags to indicate a successful lift, Ma screamed with excitement, "Finally, I made it!"


In the recent Paralympic Games in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Ma, a 54-year-old para powerlifter, pocketed his first gold medal in the men's 49 kg category on his Paralympic debut.


Ma is a farmer from southern Ningxia's Guyuan City, located in Xihaigu, a region once deemed "uninhabitable." His life was irrevocably changed when he fell from a construction site 20 years ago.


The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. After two decades in a wheelchair, Ma suffered from muscle atrophy in his lower limbs. In contrast to his skinny legs, however, he has strong and muscular arms.


Before the camera, Ma proudly flexed his muscles, showing bulging biceps and triceps, "This is the result of my training."


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