Back To Top

Weightlifter Om Yun-chol wins silver for North Korea's 1st medal in Rio

Weightlifter Om Yun-chol won silver for North Korea's first medal at the ongoing Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Sunday.

Om finished second in the men's 56kg at Riocentro-Pavilion 2, lifting 134 kg in the snatch and 169 kg in the clean and jerk for 303 kg total.

Long Qingquan of China won the gold with a world record total of 307 kg, denying Om his second straight Olympic title. Long lifted 137 kg in the snatch and an Olympic record 170 kg in the clean and jerk.

Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald
Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald
Om is one of 31 North Korean athletes competing in nine sports in Rio. He was one of three weightlifting gold medalists at the 2012 London Games.

Om was disappointed that he didn't win the gold medal. The 24-year-old even said he is not a "hero" in North Korea as he let down North Koreans even though he had won the gold medal at the London Games.

"I got nothing to say because my performance says it all," Om said to reporters. "(The North Korean) people's support really gave me a lot of energy, but it's a pity that I didn't perform well."

Om, however, said he will go for the gold medal at the next Summer Games in Japan and the World Weightlifting Championships, which he has won three years in a row.

"I will try to win the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the World Weightlifting Championships," he said. "It will be really nice if I had won the gold medal here, but now I have to cheer for my teammates."

Om received his silver medal from Chang Ung, the lone North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee, at the medal ceremony. The weightlifter shed tears as the medal was placed around his neck.

Choe Ryong-hae, a powerful vice chairman of the North's State Affairs Commission, was on hand to cheer on Om. However, he left the venue before the medal ceremony took place.

The North's state media, the Korean Central News Agency, reported on Saturday (Korean time) that Choe had met with Brazilian Interim President Michel Temer and the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach during his stay in Rio. (Yonhap)