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 her 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 dominant that her opening weights would have been enough to win, and she used the rest of the competition like a training exercise with a flawless series of six lifts 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 at the 2,000-capacity Jakarta International Expo.
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.
There was a heartbreaking incident at the start of the competition as Aysoltan Toychyyeva suffered weightlifting equivalent of golf’s “yips” before crashing out.
The Turkmenistani, who won a silver medal at last year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, came to the stage twice for her opening snatch at 88kg looking ashen.
She froze like a rabbit in the headlights and walked away sobbing both times without even attempting a lift as nerves got the better of her.
At the third time of asking she did at least try to raise the bar but pulled out and rushed from the stage crying and inconsolable with her Asian Games over.