The Fazza 13th 2024 Para Powerlifting World Cup saw the Irish athletes starting to compete. Cork's Ruairi Devlin and Niamh Buckley, Cavan native Casey Fitzgerald and Meath's Sean Hughes all get in on the action.

The first of the IWA athletes to compete was Cork man, Ruairi Devlin in the Up to 72kg category on Friday afternoon. Devlin’s first attempt was red flagged on the press sequence and body sequence as he tried to press 86kg.

However, not to be deterred by his first attempt, when he returned to the stage, Ruairi aimed to set a new lifetime best of 90kg. Receiving two white flags, it was elation for the Kinsale native, achieving a new lifetime best and sealing a gold medal in the Next Gen category.

Ruairi Devlin celebrates setting a new lifetime best and claiming gold in the Next Gen competition.

The IWA athlete ended his competition with an attempt at 93kg but it wasn’t to be, as he was red flagged for the press sequence.

On Saturday, Niamh Buckley was looking to increase her chances of heading to the Paralympic Games, competing in the Up to 61kg category.

Immediately aiming for a new lifetime best, Buckley had 76kg racked up on the bar. Attempt one was marked down, with the press sequence coming up short. Not to be held back, the MTU Tralee student attempted 76kg for her second lift but received another red flag for her press sequence.

An ecstatic Niamh Buckley set a new lifetime best of 76kg, resulting in a Next Gen gold medal at the Fazza 13th Para Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai.

With her final attempt, the IWA athlete persevered and looked to complete a lift at 76kg. And with two white flags, Niamh finally got her new lifetime best and also locking down the gold medal for the Next Gen category.

Closing out the weekend, Casey Fitzgerald looked to continue the success of Ireland’s up and coming powerlifters, competing in the Up to 73kg category.

Casey Fitzgerald in the zone as she went on to set a new lifetime best and seal a gold medal.

Crowned Junior World Champion in her previous visit to Dubai at the World Championships in August, Fitzgerald aimed to achieve a lifetime best on the first lift, with the bar set to 78kg.

A solid attempt, meant the Cavan woman did just that and sealing a gold medal in the Next Gen category.

Striving for more, Casey returned for the second lift with the bar set to 80kg and while she managed to complete the lift, her press sequence was red flagged. On her final attempt, the IWA athlete had 82kg racked on the bar but couldn’t complete the lift.

Fitzgerald sealed a hat-trick of gold medals for Ireland, as all the Next Gen athletes came out on top.

Monday morning saw our eyes turn to Sean Hughes, competing in the very competitive Up to 88kg category.

Hughes started his World Cup performance with the first lift cleared with ease at 150kg. When the Meath-local returned for his second attempt, he targeted a lifetime best at 155kg. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, when he was unable to complete the lift.

Sean Hughes started strong, completing a 150kg lift.

His final attempt was another shot at 155kg and while Sean completed the lift, it was the press sequence that was red flagged.


Britney Arendse aiming for a new lifetime best

The final member of the Irish team to compete, Britney Arendse looked to take another step closer to Paralympic qualification. Switching weight category at the last minute, Arendse was competing in the Up to 79kg category.

The Irish co-flag bearer at the Tokyo Games started with an attempt at a new lifetime best, lifting 125kg. A good start, saw the lift cleared and taking an early lead in the standings.

For her second attempt, Britney had her sights set on raising her lifetime best to 128kg but she was red flagged on the press sequence. Not to be discouraged, the IWA athlete used her final attempt to try again at 128kg.

The judges deemed it not good enough, again on the press sequence but it was immediately challenged by her coach. There was no waiting around as the decision was overturned and the third attempt deemed a good lift after all.

It meant that Arendse had set a new lifetime best again and ended the competition in 4th place. The hard work will continue as she aims to represent Ireland at the Paralympics this August.

Britney Arendse celebrates sealing a lifetime best for the second time in a day

Britney’s solid performance concluded the Irish team’s appearance at the 13th Fazza Dubai, Para Powerlifting World Cup. The team return to Ireland with three gold medals and four new lifetime bests, making it a resounding success.

Learn more about Para Powerlifting and how you can get involved here.