By Mark Etheridge
Ricardo Fitzpatrick, South African para powerlifter and national record holder in the 88kg division ended with a lift of 165kg at the Para Sports Festival in Mexico City on Thursday.
The Kimberly lifter was SA’s only power lifter while five swimmers represented the country at the same festival.
Fitzpatrick went to Mexico with a mission of recording a ranking in his division and then attempt to break the current SA Para Powerlifting Record which he holds in the 88kg division.
But he didn’t have a good start as he failed his first attempt at 165kg due to a technicality. He did however come back on the second lift and got it on the same weight placing him first in Group C of the division.
Fitzpatrick then attempted 173kg to break the SA record but, with a poor handover of the spotter at the competition, couldn’t lock out the weight.
‘I’m not pleased with my result but I didn’t want to take chances on my second attempt so I had to go with the same weight and it was a success.’
Fitzpatrick was wary of repeating his 2014 Dubai IPC World Championships experience where he bombed out due to a technicality and wasn’t ranked for 2014.
‘But 2017 was still a great powerlifting year for me. I got a ranking of sixth in the world at the beginning of the year with 170kg which is the new SA record so my result for Dubai will place me higher on the 88kg Men World Para Powerlifting Rankings than my Mexico City 2017 World Para Powerlifting World Championship Ranking.
‘At this point I’m still not sure if I qualify for 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games to record a better ranking for 2018.
‘Nevertheless I got a World Championship World Para Powerlifting ranking. My best ranking at IPC was at the 2006 Busan IPC Powerlifting World Championships where I placed 10th. I’m going to have to work extremely hard in the gym to repeat that form for the 2019 World Para Powerlifting World Championships which will be hosted in Astana , Kazahstan.
Overall Fitzpatrick had a good 2017. breaking the SA Para powerlifting record in winning bronze at the Arnold Classic Africa Bench Press Championships and winning his fifth international title at the 2017 Commonwealth Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships.
A Remitto-sponsored athlete, Fitzpatrick will set his focus on next year’s Commonwealth Games. ‘If I don’t make it for the Games I have the Astana 2019 World Para Powerlifting World Championships which is in 18 months and I want to get the best possible ranking and slot for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.’