Weightlifting: Raihan clears the path

HAVING achieved a first by winning a Commonwealth Games medal, Raihan Yusoff is now hoping that women’s weightlifting will take off in a big way in Malaysia. Raihan, 22, delivered a surprise bronze in the 53kg late on Tuesday at the JN Indoor Hall, which was not only the first for a Malaysian woman but also ensured the four-medal target was met.

“I was not expected to deliver a medal but I wanted to give it my best shot as I was determined to surprise the same way Aricco (Jumith) and Naharuddin (Mahayudin) did in the 62kg,” said Raihan yesterday.

Aricco and Naharuddin took gold and silver respectively on Tuesday, adding to the men’s 56kg gold Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim won on Monday.

“Amirul is another reason why I was determined to win a medal. I have been following his progress since he won three gold medals in the 2002 Manchester Games and I wanted to be a medallist in the Commonwealth Games too,” said Raihan, who hails from Kota Baru.

Raihan lifted a total 175kg for the bronze. Gold was won by Marilou Prevost of Canada who lifted 182kg while Nigeria’s Onyeka Azike (180kg) took the silver.

“I also hope that this will spark women’s weightlifting in Malaysia. This is my biggest achievement thus far and I hope that others back home will consider the sport as a career.

“Weightlifting is slowly but surely bringing honour to Malaysia and if more women pick up the sport, I am sure that we will soon be challenging for honours on the international stage