Lê Văn Công of Việt Nam won silver in the men's 49kg powerlifting event on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Vũ Trong Hải
TOKYO — Paralympic weightlifter Lê Văn Công lifted the nation’s spirits by taking a stunning silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics yesterday, Việt Nam’s first medal at the current games.
In incredible scenes, Công was pipped at the post not because he could not lift more than his opponent but because he personally weighed 100 grams less. Under Paralympic rules, if the weightlifting is tied, the higher placing goes to the lighter athlete.
"It is wonderful to receive a silver medal at this Paralympics. It is a great bonus for me after spending a long time being treated for injury and training," said Công.
"I have spent two years out of big international competitions as well as tournaments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I also suffered serious injuries. Thanks to the support from doctors at the National Sports and Training Centre 2 and those from Military Hospital 175, I have recovered 60 per cent and returned to practice and compete.
"I have spent four weeks intensive training (at home) and about a week in intensive preparation at the Athlete's Village (in Tokyo). And I surpassed my own ability to grab a medal for myself and for the country," said Công, who encouraged people to "try your best and never give up. Success will find you."
Though a defending champion in the 49kg men’s competition, Công faced stiff competition from a powerful field of eight other weightlifters from Turkey, Nigeria, Algeria, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Japan, Jordan, and Poland.
In his first lift, Công registered a starting weight of 165kg, 5kg less than Omar Qarada from Jordan. They both succeeded at the first lift.
Lê Văn Công of Việt Nam (left) poses with his medal on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Vũ Trong Hải
On his second lift, Công ramped up the pressure completing a 170kg lift, while Qarada attempted 172kg and failed.
In the last lift, the two weightlifters both registered a weight of 173 kg successfully, but Jordan's athlete took gold for being exactly 0.1kg lighter than his Vietnamese opponent.
While the 37-year-old Vietnamese could not defend his gold medal from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which he took after setting a record lifting 183kg, he nevertheless exceeded expectations as he has suffered from severe tendonitis and a left clavicle arthritis injury since the start of the year.
Earlier in the day, Võ Thanh Tùng and Trịnh Thị Bích Như competed in the qualifying round of the men's 100m freestyle S5 and women's 200m medley SM6, respectively.
Tùng finished with a time of 1 minute 20.51 seconds, ranking last in his heat and 11th out of 13 athletes in total. While Như ranked last out of 14 athletes, with a swim of 3 minutes 35.16 seconds.
Tùng and Như’s results were not enough to make the finals.
Tùng will today compete in the men's 50m butterfly S5, while Châu Hoàng Tuyết Lan will take part in the women's 55kg weightlifting. VNS
Watch our interview with Lê Văn Công after securing the silver medal