Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Family affair! Tears as N.Korea's Rim follows little sister to gold

Aug 26. 2018
North Korea's Rim Jong Sim lifts during the snatch women's 75kg weightlifting group.
North Korea's Rim Jong Sim lifts during the snatch women's 75kg weightlifting group.
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Rim Jong Sim bagged North Korea's seventh weightlifting gold of the Asian Games in Indonesia on Sunday to complete a remarkable family double, just a day after a victory by her little sister.


Like her 22-year-old sibling Rim Un Sim in Saturday's 69kg category, the reigning Olympic champion enjoyed a comfortable margin of victory in the 75kg class -- this time by a massive 26kg.

"I was a bit nervous after my sister won, just hoping I could do the same," said a delighted Jong Sim, 25, who was watched by her sister Un Sim as she further extended North Korea's record weightlifting haul at the Asian Games.

The sisters couldn't hold back their emotions after Jong Sim was presented with her gold medal by North Korean Sports Minister Kim Il Guk and the secretive country's anthem played for the seventh time in seven days of competition.

After wiping away her tears, Un Sim told AFP: "I was so happy for 'Onni' ('big sister'). I knew she could win but I couldn't hold back when I thought of her and my country."

It was a sentiment echoed by Jong Sim. "This gold is not just for me but for my country," she told reporters. "I cried when I thought about my country. I can't wait to go back home now."

North Korea's previous best performance at the Games had been four weightlifting golds at the Incheon Asiad four years ago.

But with regional heavyweights China, who topped the Incheon weightlifting medals with seven golds, and Kazakhstan currently under a doping suspension, the North Koreans have dominated the event.

- Six of the best -

Rim was so in control that her opening weights in each discipline would have been enough to win, and she used the rest of the competition like a training exercise with a flawless series culminating in a snatch of 116kg and clean and jerk of 147kg.

After her sixth and final successful lift she broke into a huge smile and waved to the packed crowd containing a large North Korean delegation including the sports minister.

A few minutes earlier, South Korea's Mun Min-hee had screamed with delight after personal bests of 106kg in the snatch and 130kg in the clean and jerk had propelled her into the silver medal position on 236kg.

But Uzbekistan's Omadoy Otakuziyeva, who had one lift remaining, increased her clean and jerk lifetime best by 6kg to leapfrog Mun and snatch the silver by just 1kg.

Later another Uzbek, Rio Olympic champion Ruslan Nuridinov, went one better and smashed two Asian Games records on his way to gold in the men's heavyweight 105kg class.

The Olympic record holder broke the long-standing clean and jerk mark of Qatar's Assad Saif Assad set at the 2002 Asiad in Busan by 5kg with his second lift of 230kg. 

That also gave him an Asian Games record total of 421kg, eclipsing Assad's old mark by 4kg.

Salwan Al-Aifuri sparked wild scenes of celebrations when he successfully hoisted 224kg to grab silver, war-ravaged Iraq's second medal in the weightlifting after Safaa Al-Jumaili's gold in the 85kg on Friday. 

He dropped to his knees and hugged the weights on one end of the barbell as an Iraqi team official leapt onto the stage and kissed the bar.

Bronze went to Iran's Hashemi Ali with a total of 403kg, 2kg behind Al-Aifuri.

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