Thai Olympian Wins Rio Bronze Medal as Grandmother Dies Watching on TV

Author: A. A. Francis


It takes a lot to be an athlete.

The roles and significant meanings of the words sacrifice and discipline are extremely underappreciated by people who think they are athletes because they competitively play with regularity with their friends or workmates on sporting weekends.

Athletes sacrifice years of fun, eating junk food and relative comfort to become just a little better at what they do, day-by-day, every day.

Do you know what it is like to physically work-out 6 to 8 hours or more, every day or every week day for years?

And just for the chance to maximize years of training in strategic moments during a competition that may last seconds, minutes or moments.

May, I also add, for a chance that only comes around every four years.

It takes a transcendent mind-set to train one’s own body to work at its level best.

Many athletes do such to win a medal, augment their stats or enjoy the spoils of acclaim. Which is definitely their due.

And yet there are many athletes who only compete to make their family and friends proud. Or to prove to themselves that they can do what they set their minds on doing.

20-year-old Thai Olympian weightlifter Sinphet Kruaithong is such an athlete.

The athlete won a bronze Olympic medal in the 56-kilogram weight category. He was the second Thai to win in the weightlifting category. 21-year-old Sopita Tanasan is only the fourth ever Thai woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

The victories are an international moment of patriotic joy for the country of Thailand.

And yet, Kruaithong’s historic and impressive bronze medal win has been overshadowed by heartache and numbing tragedy.

Kruaithong’s 84-year-old grandmother allegedly died in her native Thai town while in the midst of jubilant celebrations and while watching her grandson win the bronze Olympic medal for weightlifting with family and friends.

Kruaithong’s octogenarian grandmother stated to local Thai press before Kruaithong’s win, “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,” according to Yahoo Sport and Agence France-Presse.

Somwang Prangprakoan, a Thai police officer and spokesperson for the Thai police authorities in northeastern Surin province, has said that officials are waiting for official autopsy results but that the grandmother may have suffered a heart attack.

Prangprakoan also publicly stated, “The initial assumption is that she died from heart failure…I’m not sure if she was too excited, or if maybe she was already ill.”

Kruaithong has yet to make a public statement.


A. A. Francis


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