Army athlete Sinphet Kruaithong won a bronze medal Monday morning to add to Sopita Tanasan's gold the day before. He did not know however that his grandmother died watching the competition. The 20-year-old finished with a total of 289kg, a mark that put him behind China’s gold-medal winner Long Qingquan who set a new world record total of 307kg. Om Yun-Chol of North Korea took home a silver medal with a combined lift of 303kg.
Sadly the 84-year-old grandmother of Sinphet Kruaithong collapsed and died on Monday, while watching the weightlifter’s achievement in Rio on a projector in his home town in Thailand.
During an interview with local press ahead of the competition, Sinphet’s grandmother said she missed her grandson but was overjoyed by his sporting journey. “I cheer him on, fight fight! I miss my grandson and want him to be successful. He does this for the country to bring the gold medal back,” she said.
Somwang Prangprakoan, a police officer in north-eastern Surin province said the initial assumption is that she died from heart failure – but we have to wait for the hospital’s result. “I’m not sure if she was too excited, or if maybe she was already ill,” he added. Sinphet was the second Thai athlete to win a medal in Rio, following a gold secured by a female weightlifter in the 48kg category on Saturday.