Balinese Powerlifting Champion Pins New Hopes on Tokyo Paralympics 2020

(23rd September 2016) A Balinese Powerlifting Champion who won Indonesia’s first and only medal at the Rio Paralympics 2016, has set an ambitious new goal to claim another medal at the next games.

Ni Nengah Widiasih is still on a high after winning bronze in the 41 kilogram powerlifting competition at the event.

Widiasih has come a long way from growing up in extreme poverty in Karangasem in Bali, when she would had to walk on her hands and feet for the first 12 years of her life because polio prevented her from walking correctly. For most of that time, Widiasih hid away in shame because disability was treated as a curse in Balinese Hindu culture.

Widiasih and her brother lived like this for several years until PUSPADI Bali (a disability support organisation providing prosthetics and wheelchairs to people with a disability in Bali and Eastern Indonesia) discovered them. The team immediately organised medical treatment for them as well as for them both to go to school.

Widiasih’s life took a remarkable turn though, when she discovered her talent for weightlifting and soon focused her sights on success, including winning gold at the World Cup Powerlifting in Malaysia this year and also coming first in Singapore ASEAN Para Games in 2015.

She is now celebrating that she has reached her ultimate dream of competing in the Rio Paralympics 2016 and receiving a bronze medal. After months of intense training at Solo-Surakarta in Jawa Tengah, Widiasih feels her hard work has finally paid off.

“I love powerlifting and feel it in my soul,” Widiasih said. “I will continue to do powerlifting and train really hard because I have big dreams to get a gold medal in the Paralympics Tokyo 2020.”

Widiasih has returned to Indonesia and recently met with the Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the country’s Sports Minister as part of a special homecoming ceremony.

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