This is so sad, at such a bittersweet moment for this poor Olympian.
Thaliand’s Sinphet Kruaithong became the first male weightlifter to ever medal for his country at the Olympics on Sunday when he earned the bronze medal in weightlifting’s 56-kilogram division in Rio.
But the amazing moment very quickly turned tragic.
During the ensuing celebration back in Kruaithong’s hometown of Surin, half a continent away from Brazil, his grandmother collapsed and died during the eruption of national pride and family support.
82-year-old Subin Khongthap reportedly fainted at the live viewing party for Kruaithong’s achievement, according to media reports, and never actually witnessed her grandson win the bronze medal.
At some point after collapsing, she regained consciousness and was transported to the hospital, but she died there roughly an hour later.
Just before the event, she had spoken to the local media about her grandson (below):
“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.”
Ugh!! So sad — such a clearly proud grandma who unfortunately couldn’t watch her grandson’s crowning achievement.
According to Somwang Prangprakoan, a police officer in the town of Surin, Khongthap’s death is still being investigated at the hospital:
“The initial assumption is that she died from heart failure ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ 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.”
Regardless, it’s obviously a bittersweet moment for Kruaithong, who lifted 289 kilograms (about 637 pounds) to capture third place on Sunday behind weightlifters from China and North Korea.
Reports suggest that when Kruaithong returns home, the family is planning on hosting both a welcome ceremony for him, and a religious wake for his grandmother.
Even in victory, certainly a tough time for this family. RIP.
[Image via Fox Sports.]