Vietnamese weightlifter bags three golds at world championships

Thach Kim Tuan was crowned the world champion in the 56kg weight category with a total score of 279kg

Vietnam's Thach Kim Tuan competes at the 2017 IWF World Championships in the U.S., November 30, 2017. Photo: iwf.net

Vietnamese weightlifter Thach Kim Tuan took home the world champion title after snatching three gold medals at the 2017 IWF World Championships in the U.S. on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Vietnamese posted 126kg in the snatch and 153kg in the clean and jerk for a combined total of 279kg, besting fellow runner-up and countryman Tran Le Quoc Toan by 9kg.

Tuan’s success was a welcome change for the young athlete whose previous performances at world championship tournaments only earned him bronze and silver medals. 

The fact that many of his rivals were absent from the event was also a confidence boost for Tuan.

In September, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) banned weightlifters from nine countries and territories – including China, Kazakhstan, and Russia – from competing at international tournaments over doping violations.

The competition was further thinned when former champion North Korean Om Yun Chol declined to attend the Anaheim event to defend his title, pushing Tuan further up the favorites list.

Vietnam's Thach Kim Tuan receives his gold medal at the 2017 IWF World Championships in the U.S., November 30, 2017.
Vietnam's Thach Kim Tuan receives his gold medal at the 2017 IWF World Championships in the U.S., November 30, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Tuan was successful in his first snatch attempt at 123kg, creating a safe gap between him and other contenders. He continued with126kg in his second attempt before failing with 129kg in his final try.

Despite the failure, his efforts were enough to secure the gold.

Tran Le Quoc Toan, a fellow Vietnamese contender, took home silver in the snatch with 119kg.

In the clean and jerk, Tuan faced fierce competition from Thailand’s Mingmoon Witoon, but managed to win gold with a 153kg lift, a mere 1kg more than his Thai rival. Toan finished third in this category with 151kg.

With a total lift of 279kg, Thach Kim Tuan won the gold medal for the highest total, followed by silver medalist Tran Quoc Toan with 270kg and bronze medalist Mingmoon Witoon with 267kg.

Vietnam's weightlifting talent Thach Kim Tuan
Vietnam's weightlifting talent Thach Kim Tuan. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Born in 1994, Thach Kim Tuan has earned fame in Vietnam’s weightlifting scene after bagging gold medals at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, 2011 Youth Asian Championships, 2012 Junior Asian Championships, and the 2014 Junior World Championships.

Tuan also won the men’s under 56kg category at the Southeast Asian Games in 2013 and 2017.

He was Vietnam’s biggest hope to secure a ticket to the London 2012 Summer Olympics but fell short of qualifying.

The 2017 World Championships runs from November 28 to December 6, 2017 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

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