Shafik Ahmed competes at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Ahmed Shafik in competition during the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.  

Powerlifting made its debut as a medal sport at the second Paralympic Games in 1964. Initially offered only to lifters with spinal cord injuries, the sport has grown to include numerous disability groups, as well as assimilate rules similar to those of non-disabled lifters. From 1992 to 1996, the number of participating countries more than doubled. Ever since, that number has risen to include 109 countries, and is the fastest growing Paralympic sport in the world.

Athletes draw lots to determine order of weigh-in and lifts. After the athletes are categorized within the 10 different weight classes (male and female), they each lift three times (competing in their respective weight class). The heaviest "good lift" (within the weight class) is the lift used for final placing in the competition.

Paralympic powerlifting competition is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities such as dwarfism, amputation/limb loss, spinal cord injury/wheelchair-users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke. The U.S. Paralympic Powerlifting Team and the day-to-day operations of the high performance program are overseen by Logan University, the National Governing Body for Paralympic powerlifting in the United States.

To learn more about Paralympic powerlifting, visit Logan University's websiteFind a local program in your community by visiting the Paralympic Resource Network.