How Indonesia’s Best Paralympic Powerlifter Overcame Polio to Medal in Rio

Ni Nengah Widiasih — “Widi” for short — is one of the brightest stars in Paralympic powerlifting, having won enough medals and broken enough records that she’s even wound up sponsored by Toyota.

But no, being a Toyota spokesperson isn’t he 27-year-old Indonesian’s most impressive accomplishment. 

After contracting polio and losing the use of her legs at age four, Widi spent her childhood in Bali and started lifting weights at the tender age of eleven years old. Encouraged by her brother, a powerlifter himself, Widi wound up winning a bronze medal at the 2008 ASEAN ParaGames and setting a record in the -40kg class at the 2011 ASEAN ParaGames when she benched a gold medal-winning 87 kilograms (191 pounds).

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