Rio 2016: Grandmother dies watching grandson win Olympic medal

Subin Khongthap, 82, collapsed moments before Sinphet Kruithong became the first Thai man to win an Olympic weightlifting medal

Adam Lusher
Tuesday 09 August 2016 15:38 BST
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Sinphet Kruithong on his way to winning bronze in the men's 56kg weightlifting
Sinphet Kruithong on his way to winning bronze in the men's 56kg weightlifting (Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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A grandmother died as she watched her grandson winning a medal at the Rio Olympics.

Subin Khongthap, 82, collapsed as she and her fellow villagers in north-eastern Thailand watched Sinphet Kruithong lift weights on his way to winning bronze in the 56kg weightlifting event.

Local media footage showed scores of villagers cheering and clapping the Thai weightlifter as they watched live coverage of Monday’s contest on a big screen that had been specially set up for the occasion.

The festive atmosphere turned sombre, however, when the villagers noticed Subin had collapsed. They rushed to her side to try to revive her, but she did not live to see Sinphet, 22, finish third to win the bronze medal.

Subin was pronounced dead after being taken to Chumphon Buri Hospital in Surin province, 210 miles (330km) away from her home village.

Instead of celebrating Sinphet’s success in becoming the first Thai man to win an Olympic weightlifting medal, the village was holding a mourning ritual at Subin’s home on Tuesday. She will be cremated on Wednesday.

Her death overshadowed what had been an extraordinarily dramatic men’s 56kg contest in which three records were broken in the space of two minutes before China’s Long Qingquan won gold.

2012 Olympic champion Om Yun-Col, from North Korea, set an Olympic record with a 169kg (372.5 lbs) clean and jerk, only to see Long beat that with a 170kg (374.7 lbs) lift which also gave him a world record total of 307kg (676.8 lbs).

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