Monday, September 15, 2008

Weightlifter makes history for Laos

A Lao weight-lifter has become the country's newest sporting hero after winning Laos' first-ever medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing on Tuesday.

Mr Eay Simay, aged 27, won a bronze medal in the men's 48kg category weightlifting event with a lift of 157.5kg.

Mr Eay, who has being weightlifting since 1993, is the only Lao athlete competing at the games and is currently ranked 18 th in the world. His victory lifted Laos to 49 th place on the medal tally.

Mr Eay told China Radio's international Lao language broadcast that he was very happy with the victory.

“I'm really enjoying today because it came as a very big surprise for me and also it is the first-ever medal for Laos at the Paralympics. Before the games I didn't think I would get a medal because there are so many talented athletes here,” he said.

“I have to express my thanks to my coach and the Lao National Sports Committee for helping me get to where I am today and also the people of Beijing for cheering me on.”
This is the fourth time Mr Eay has achieved highly in international competitions under his coach, Mr Oudome Vilaysack. He won silver medals at the Asean Para Games in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
The gold medal in the men's 48kg category of the weightlifting event was won by Ruel Ishaku of Nigeria , who lifted 169kg to break the world record previously held by China 's Wu Guoying. The silver medal went to Omar Qarada of Jordan , who lifted 162.5kg.

The Xinhua news agency website reported that England 's Anthony Peddle, a pre-event favourite, failed in all of his three attempts to lift 152kg.

In their first attempts, Choochat Sukjareen of Thailand lifted 150kg; Farman Basha from India lifted 155kg and Omar Qarada of Jordan and Mr Eay both lifted 157.5kg.
Omar Qarada's third attempt saw him lift 162.5kg, winning him the silver medal. Not content with the medal alone, he then tried to set a new world record by attempting to lift 169.5kg, but was unsuccessful.

Peddle's last attempt also saw a no-lift and Sukjareen went on to try and lift 160kg for a chance at second place but failed. Farman Basha's and Eay's second attempts at 160kg were also no-lifts, but Eay's clean 157.5kg lift secured him the bronze medal.

The Paralympics is the world's premier sporting event for people with disabilities.
More than 4,000 athletes from 147 countries are participating in the Paralympics, which run from September 6-17.

Events at the games are: archery, athletics, bocce, cycling, equestrian, football, goalball, judo, weightlifting, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, volleyball, basketball, fencing, rugby and tennis.