21/09/2016 12:52 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Weightlifter Le Van Cong with His Historical Medal at Paralympics 2016

Breaking three world records within a year is surely the most impressive achievement by Le Van Cong on the way to pursuing his passion for the sports event and to overcome his disability.

At Paralympics 2016 in Rio, Brazil, weightlifter Le Van Cong brought glory to the country when he won a gold medal in the men’s up-to-49kg category with a perfect lift of 183kg, beating two medalists, Jordanian Omar Qarada (silver medal) and Hungarian Nandor Tunkel (bronze medal).

With this gold medal, Le Van Cong has become a new “legend”  in Vietnam. To obtain such a great success, Cong took a long journey to overcome his disability. Le Van Cong was born in the north-central province of Ha Tinh Province with deformed legs. All his daily activities were done with his arms with the support of a wheelchair. Once, when he watched weightlifters with strong muscles competing on a sports program on TV, he became keen on this sport. At that time Cong only thought that practicing the sport would make his hands stronger.

In 2005, Cong left his hometown to move to Ho Chi Minh City for a vocational training course on repairing household electric appliances at the College of Technology II and participated in an orientation club for the disabled.  To keep fit, Cong exercised at the Tan Binh Sports Training Centre where weightlifting coach Nguyen Hong Phuc discovered his penchant for weightlifting. In 2007, he started participating in both regional and international professional competitions and became a star of the national weightlifting team with disabilities who won a collection of medals.  During his competing career, what Cong remembers most is the gold medal in the men’s up-to-49kg category that he captured with a lift of 152.5kg at his first international contest – the ASEAN Para Games in 2007.
 


Weightlifter Le Van Cong and his coach Nguyen Hong Phuc. Photo: Nguyen Luan

Weightlifter Le Van Cong practices with the instruction of his coach Nguyen Hong Phuc
before participating in Paralympic Rio 2016. Photo: Nguyen Luan


Weightlifter Le Van Cong is selected as the national outstanding athlete with disabilities in 2015. Photo: Nguyen Luan


Weightlifter Le Van Cong holds three world records in men’s 49kg at the ASEAN Paralympic Games with a lift of 176kg;
the Asian Para Games (181.5kg) and the Asian Weightlifting Championship 2015 with a lift of 182kg. Photo: File



Weightlifter Le Van Cong at the opening ceremony of ASEAN Paralympic Games 8 held in Singapore in 2015. Photo: File

Weightlifter Le Van Cong is ready for his competition at ASEAN Paralympic Games 8 in 2015. Photo: File


Weightlifter Le Van Cong with his gold medal at ASEAN Paralympic Games 8 in 2015. Photo: File


Weightlifter Le Van Cong and his coach Nguyen Hong Phuc during a training course in Japan. Photo: File

The weightlifter with his family. Photo: File

Lifter Le Van Cong holds three world records in men’s up-to-49kg category, including the 7th ASEAN Para Games in 2014 with a lift of 176kg; the 2nd Asian Para games in 2014 with a lift of 181.5kg and the Asian Weightlifting Championship 2015 with a lift of 182kg. With his great success, Le Van Cong was selected as the national outstanding athlete with disabilities in 2015 and his coach Nguyen Hong Phuc became the national outstanding coach for the disabled.  
When he was preparing for the London Paralympic Games held in 2012, unfortunately, Cong had a motorbike accident in 2011 that didn’t allow him to practice for two years and the target of capturing a medal at Paralympics 2012 was only a dream. After two years facing tremendous difficulties in both earning his living and treating his  injuries, Cong was able to go back to practicing and at the 2013 Asian Athletics Championships, he brought glory to the nation when winning the gold medal in the men’s 49kg category.

Returning home with a gold medal from ASEAN Paralympic Games 8 in December 2015, Cong practiced with great zeal at the National Sports Centre II in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City to prepare for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil. He said: “My dream is weightlifting and breaking world records and it has now become true. For me, participating in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games is both an award and a challenge”. Because it is the first time he attended the world’s Paralympics, he was very eager and showed a strong determination to compete well.

At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Cong made history, becoming a world record holder with a lift of 181kg on his third attempt and 183kg with his last attempt,  beating weightlifter Oma Qarada who won the silver medal. He also broke his own record and set a new Paralympic record. Le Van Cong’s success has shown the strong will and resilience of athletes with disabilities. Together with Hoang Xuan Vinh, Le Van Cong is a new “legend” of Vietnam.
 

Weightlifter Le Van Cong feels confident and shows his strong determination
before participating in Paralympic Games 2016. Photo: Nguyen Luan



Weightlifter Le Van Cong trains with exercises to prepare for
Paralympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Nguyen Luan



Weightlifter Le Van Cong in January 2016. Photo: Nguyen Luan


Weightlifter Le Van Cong competes in men’s up-to-49kg at Paralympic Games 2016. Photo: Xinhua/VNA


The joy of weightlifter Le Van Cong after successfully competing in the men’s 49kg at  Paralympics 2016. Photo: Xinhua/VNA

The moment he breaks the record in men’s up-to49kg at Paralympic Games in 2016. Photo: Xinhua/VNA

Weightlifter Le Van Cong wins the gold medal and breaks the world record in men’s up-to-49kg at Paralympics 2016.
Weightlifter Le Van Cong (middle) wins the gold medal in the men’s up-to-49kg category with a lift of 181kg,
breaking two Paralympic records in this event. Jordanian Omar Qarada (left) wins the silver medal with a lift of 177kg
and bronze medalist is Hungarian Nandor Tunkel who lifted 155kg. Photo: Xinhua/VNA

 


Talking about his student, weightlifting coach Nguyen Hong Phuc proudly said: “Cong is always industrious and professional in practicing. He is the hope of the Vietnamese weightlifting team with disabilities”. The team now consists of Le Van Cong, Nguyen Binh An, Dang Thi Linh Phuong and Chau Hoang Tuyet Loan.

After hard training and severe competitions, the weightlifter spends his free time with his beloved wife and son in  Long An where he owns an electronics shop – the fruit of years of studying electronic appliance repairing in Ho Chi Minh City.




 

Lifter Le Van Cong won the first gold medal for the Vietnamese athlete delegation with disabilities when he lifted 181kg, breaking two Paralympic records in this category. It is the first gold medal of the Vietnamese delegation at the Paralympics since 2000.


Story: Son Nghia - Photos: Nguyen Luan, Xinhua & Files