An Olympic bronze medal winner’s glory turned to heartbreak after he learned his grandmother had died just before he scooped his title.
Thailand’s Sinphet Kruithong won third place in the 56kg weightlifting category, just moments after his beloved grandmother passed away as she watched his feat on television.
She had been watching his event live on a big TV screen set up especially for the occasion in his village in northeastern Thailand.
The festive atmosphere - villagers cheering and clapping as Sinphet heaved the weights up - turned somber on Monday when people noticed that 82-year-old Subin Khongthap had collapsed.
Tragically 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 on Wednesday following a mourning ceremony being held on Tuesday.
Sinphet, 22, was the second Thai to win a medal at the Rio Games, following Sopita Tanasan, 22, who won a gold medal for weightlifting in the women’s 48 kilogram category on Saturday.
He was, however, the first Thai man to medal in weightlifting while nine Thai women have won medals in the past.
The gold medal in his event went to China’s Long Qingquan and Om Yun-Chol of North Korea won the silver.
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