The BarBend 20

Ali Jawad
Photo from @alijawadpowerlifter on Instagram

Ali Jawad

There’s a lot to say about Para powerlifter Ali Jawad, but let’s start with his incredible powerlifting record. In 2012, Jawad took fourth in the 2012 Paralympics in London in the -59-kilogram weight class. One year later, he won the Asian Open Championships with a 185.5-kilogram (408.9-pound) bench press. And then he added 4.5 kilograms to that lift to become a World Champion at the IPC Powerlifting World Championships. Also of note, Jawad got silver at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. So, yeah, the dude is seriously strong

More recently, Jawad is working towards his Ph.D. in anti-doping in an attempt to, as he told BarBend, close the gap between anti-doping in the Paralympic Games and the Olympic Games. There are more ways to cheat in Para Powerlifting — notably, a self-harm method called “boosting,” where the athlete hurts themself to increase their blood pressure. According to Jawad, he wants to educate, inform, and enact policy changes to create a level (and safe) playing field for all competitors. 

As if his plate wasn’t full enough, Jawad is also launching Accesserise in 2021 — a fitness app specifically designed for people with impairments. The app includes educational content, a social platform, nutritional content, and a rating scale that allows users to rate a gym’s accessibility.

Serious lifting chops coupled with a passion for bettering the adaptive training community make Jawad an easy addition to The BarBend 20. If productivity were an Olympic sport, Jawad would have a medal in that, too.