Celebrations for a Thai weightlifter were overshadowed after his grandmother collapsed and died minutes before he won the bronze medal in the 56kg category at the Rio Olympics.
A traditional mourning ritual was held yesterday at the home of Sinphet Kruithong, whose grandmother was among scores of family and friends watching his event live on a big television screen set up especially for the occasion in his village in north-eastern Thailand.
The festive atmosphere — villagers cheering and clapping as Sinphet heaved the weights up —turned sombre on Monday when people noticed that 82-year-old Subin Khongthap had collapsed.
She did not live to see her grandson win the bronze medal.
A video taken by a local media outlet, Thai Rath, showed cheering villagers quickly rushing to Subin’s side and trying to revive her.
She was taken to Chumphon Buri Hospital in Surin province, 330km away, where she was pronounced dead. She will be cremated tomorrow.
Sinphet, 22, was the second Thai athlete to win a medal at the Rio Games, following Sopita Tanasan, also 22, who won a gold medal for weightlifting in the women’s 48kg category on Saturday. While nine Thai women have won medals in the past, Sinphet is the first Thai man to win a medal in weightlifting.
The gold medal in his event went to China’s Long Qingquan and Om Yun-Chol of North Korea took the silver.
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