Bobby Body Brings Home Two Legends Medals From The World Championships
by Luke Hanlon
The biggest event on the Para powerlifting calendar in 2023 has come to a close.
The World Para Powerlifting Championships took place from Aug. 22-30 in Dubai, UAE.
On top of being the most anticipated event of the year for Para powerlifting, it also served as a mandatory event for athletes aiming to qualify for the Paralympic Games Paris 2024.
Four athletes from Team USA made the trip to Dubai. Antonio Martin was set to be the fifth, but he withdrew from the competition due to an injury.
Before any wights were lifted, the event started with an opening ceremony on Aug. 21. Flag bearers worked their way across a stage to showcase the 78 countries that were represented at the world championships.
Garrison Redd had the opportunity to carry the flag for the United States.
Redd posted a video of himself with the flag at the opening ceremony and called the experience an “amazing honor.”
The top performance for Team USA in Dubai came from Bobby Body. The 49-year-old from Fremont, Michigan, competed in the men’s 107 kg. class and successfully lifted 210 kg. in his first attempt. Though he missed his next two attempts at 215 kg., that initial lift was good enough for Body to leave Dubai with two silver medals in the legends division, which is for athletes 45 and older. In the elite standings, he took 10th in best lift and 17th in total.
Body was the oldest of the four American athletes that competed in Dubai. The youngest was 24-year-old Christian Largo. Despite his youth, Largo already has a lot of experience on this stage, as he competed in the junior world championships in 2017 (where he won a silver for best lift) and made his senior debut at the competition in 2019.
The Glen Allen, Virginia, native successfully lifted 145 kg. on his first attempt and then set a new in-competition personal best with a lift of 150 kg. on his second attempt. He was unable to set another PR after that, however, so Largo finished in 23rd in the men’s 72 kg. class for best lift and 18th with a total of 295 kg.
Competing in the men’s 59 kg. class, Jacob Herbert was successful with his first two lifts of 143 kg. and 146 kg. The 31-year-old from Indianapolis couldn’t clear his final lift of 151 kg., which gave him a total of 289 kg., good enough for 16th place. Herbert’s best lift of 146 kg. tied him for 19th place in his class.
This was the second world championships of Herbert’s career, as he competed in Mexico in 2017. However, this was the first time in his life that he traveled across the Atlantic Ocean. Judging from his Instagram account, he seemed to enjoy the food in Dubai.
After serving as the flag bearer for the U.S., Redd got off to a strong start in the men’s 65 kg. class. His initial lift of 127 kg. was the most he’d ever cleared on an opening lift. However, he missed his next two lifts at 132 kg. The 35-year-old from New York finished 22nd in best lift and 24th in total lift.
This performance was an improvement from his 26th-place finish at the world championships in 2021. In an Instagram post, Redd expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to compete in Dubai and meet other athletes from across the world.
On top of being able to compete on the world’s biggest stage, the U.S. athletes also enjoyed the views Dubai has to offer.
The next event on the radar for U.S. athletes is a world cup event Nov. 3-5 in Cairo, which will serve as the host for the world championships in 2025.
After that, the Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile, are set to take place form Nov. 18-21.
Luke Hanlon is a sportswriter and editor based in Minneapolis. He is a freelance contributor to USParaPowerlifting.org courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.