Thai woman snatches gold

The Myanmar Times - - Olympics -

THAI­LAND’S So­pita Tanasan grabbed the first gold medal of the weightlift­ing com­pe­ti­tion at the Rio Games on Au­gust 6 and promptly ded­i­cated it to ail­ing Thai King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej.

The 21-year-old dom­i­nated the women’s 48kg, lift­ing 92kg in the snatch and 108kg in the clean and jerk for a to­tal of 200kg to fin­ish first in weightlift­ing’s light­est cat­e­gory.

“I ded­i­cate the medal to our king. That is the Thai way,” So­pita told re­porters af­ter she be­came the fourth women’s weightlifter from Thai­land to win an Olympic gold medal.

The 88-year-old Thai king is the world’s long­est-reign­ing monarch and is widely revered in the coun­try where his frail health is a mat­ter of pub­lic con­cern.

He is con­fined to a wheel­chair and has not been seen or spo­ken in pub­lic for nearly a year. Ear­lier this week the palace said he was be­ing treated for fever and water on the brain.

So­pita, a reg­u­lar lifter in the 53kg class, took full ad­van­tage of the with­drawal through in­jury this week of hot Chi­nese favourite Hou Zhi­hui to win with ease.

The 5-foot-1-inch Thai hoisted 8kg more than sil­ver medal­list Sri Wahyuni Agus­tiani of In­done­sia, while evergreen Ja­panese lifter Hiromi Miyake took bronze with a to­tal of 188kg.

So­pita – who hails from a fam­ily of box­ers – was in con­trol through­out at the the 6000-ca­pac­ity Rio­cen­tro Pav­il­ion 2, and went into the clean and jerk lead­ing by seven kgs.

Her only stum­ble came when she failed to lift 110kg in her fi­nal at­tempt of the night. That left Agus­tiani need­ing to haul 115kg to take first place. The In­done­sian had two op­por­tu­ni­ties but never came close.

“I was sur­prised that she was go­ing for it but I was still very con­fi­dent I was go­ing to win,” So­pita said after­ward.

“I be­lieved I could do it but it just wasn’t meant to be,” said Agus­tiani.

Miyake’s bronze came af­ter she won sil­ver at Lon­don four years ago to be­come Ja­pan’s first-ever fe­male medal win­ner in weightlift­ing.

The 30-year-old was in tears on Au­gust 6 af­ter fail­ing to lift her first two snatch at­tempts, but she was all smiles later as she squeaked onto the podium by 1kg.

Miyake, whose fa­ther won Olympic bronze in weightlift­ing in 1968 Olympic, is com­pet­ing in her fourth Games and didn’t rule out a fifth on home soil at Tokyo 2020.

“It would be a won­der­ful place here to wrap up my ca­reer but I need to go away and think about it very care­fully,” she said.

The weightlift­ing started un­der a cloud of dop­ing af­ter it was re­ported ear­lier in the day that Cypriot weightlifter An­to­nis Mar­ta­sides had been sent home from the Olympic Games af­ter fail­ing a drugs test.

The Cyprus Mail said on its web­site that Mar­ta­sides had tested pos­i­tive for a banned sub­stance fol­low­ing an out-of-com­pe­ti­tion test on July 25 in Athens.

Mar­ta­sides’ cre­den­tial for Rio was re­voked fol­low­ing the test.

Weightlift­ing has long plagued by dop­ing scan­dals.

Rus­sia and Bul­garia, both tra­di­tional pow­er­houses, are banned from the weightlift­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Rio for re­peated dop­ing of­fences.

The In­ter­na­tional Weightlift­ing Fed­er­a­tion (IWF) also pun­ished North Korea, Ro­ma­nia, Azer­bai­jan, Uzbek­istan and Moldova by re­duc­ing their al­lo­ca­tion of lifters. – been

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