Back Society » Sports » Weightlifter Clinches Vietnam's First-Ever Paralympics Gold Medal, Breaks Own World Record

Exactly one month after military officer Hoang Xuan Vinh made history with Vietnam’s first and only Olympic gold medal currently, weightlifter Le Van Cong just snapped up the country’s first-ever gold medal at a Paralympic event, breaking his own world record in the process.

According to Thanh Nien, on Thursday, during his last attempt in the 49kg weightlifting category, Cong successfully lifted 183kg, clinching the top position. He beat Jordan’s Omar Qarada and Hungary’s Nandor Tunkel who finished with 177kg and 155kg, respectively.

“I am so glad to win a Paralympic gold medal and break a world record. Nothing makes me happier than breaking my own record,” the 32-year-old athlete told Tuoi Tre. “My wish now is to return home as quickly as possible. I have often been away for training and am concerned I cannot spend much time taking care of my wife and child.”

Minister of Culture, Sports and Culture Nguyen Ngoc Thien recently announced, reports Zing, that the ministry will award Cong with VND60 million and his coach, Nguyen Hong Phuc, VND20 million for their hard work.

This amount of reward is equal to that of Hoang Xuan Vinh and his coach when they brought back Vietnam’s only Olympic gold medal last month. Moreover, legally Cong will also be entitled to VND80 million for the gold medal and another VND30 million for breaking a Paralympic record.

Video via YouTube user Paralympic Games.

Born into a poor family in Ha Tinh Province, the Olympian moved to Saigon when he was 19 years old, with nothing but VND1 million and a few items of clothing. A bout of Dengue fever during his mother’s pregnancy resulted in Cong being born with deformed legs. This didn’t stop him from taking part in recreational activities after he joined a career seeking club in Saigon in 2005.

This eventually brought him to weightlifting, and just after two years of constant practice, Cong claimed his first gold medal in the ASEAN Para Games 2007, reports Zing.

His latest gold medal is Vietnam’s first medal ever in the Paralympics since the nation started participating in 2000, according to the news source. Before Rio 2016, Cong also holds the world record for weightlifting – 182kg – which he achieved in 2015 during the Powerlifting Asian Open Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Vietnam brought 11 athlete to Rio Paralympics 2016, only competing in three areas: powerlifting, swimming and athletics.

[Photo via Sputnik News]

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