London — Weightlifter Eko Yuli Irawan gave Indonesia a moment to savor when he won a bronze in the men’s 62-kilogram weight lifting competition at the London Olympics on Monday evening (early Tuesday Jakarta time).
Battling the effect of the shinbone injury he sustained in the 2011 SEA Games, Eko secured the first medal for the country after lifting a total of 317 kilograms (145 kilograms in the snatch, 172 kilograms in the clean and jerk), the same lifts as silver medalist Oscar Albeiro Figueroa Mosquera of Colombia, but the Indonesian was beaten for weighing more than his opponent.
The gold medal went to North Korean Kim Un-guk, who lifted 10 kg more than both his opponents.
It is a second Olympic bronze for Eko, who just celebrated his 23rd birthday on July 24, after winning third place in Beijing in 2008.
“This was the best performance that I could deliver,” Eko said as quoted by Antara news agency.
“Maybe bronze is the best I can get,” he said, referring to the moment when the results went against him.
He had looked tense before beaming with joy when Chinese weight lifter Zhang Jie failed in his attempt at 178 kilograms.
Eko promptly hugged his coaches in excitement. “I’m very grateful that I still have a chance [to win]. I wouldn’t have got the medal had he succeeded.”
With Eko winning the bronze, Indonesia’s position in the medal tally jumped from nowhere to 28th place, making it only the second Southeast Asian country after Thailand to have won medals so far in London.
Indonesia had a second contender in the same category, but Muhammad Hasbi’s efforts ended in disappointment when he could lift only 301 kilograms in total, with 138 kilograms in the snatch and 163 kilograms in the clean and jerk. Having begun his efforts in Group B before the medal lift-off, he finished in seventh place.
Indonesia, which has sent 22 athletes in eight sports, is still pinning its gold-medal hopes on the shuttlers.
Women’s doubles shuttlers, Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari, won easily against South African pair, Michelle Edwards and Annari Viljoen, to collect their second win in the group matches.
They were paired against South Korea’s Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung on Tuesday evening to fight for a place in the quarterfinals.
Taufik Hidayat, a gold medalist in 2004 who has dropped to world number 12, defeated Spain’s Pablo Abian 22-20, 21-11 to keep his hopes of another Olympic laurel alive. The other Indonesian contender in the men’s singles, Simon Santoso, also won with a crushing 21-11, 21-7 defeat of Austria’s Michael Lahnsteiner.
Men’s doubles shuttlers, Mohammad Ahsan and Bona Septano, recovered from an opening loss to take their two remaining matches. They beat South Korea’s Ko Sung-hyun and Yoo Yeon-seong, 24-22, 21-12, before securing their second match without even breaking sweat after their Polish opponents, Adam Cwalina and Michal Logosz, were forced to retire due to injury.
Putu Wiradamungga, a wild-card entry and the only Indonesian in the judo competition, lost to Hungary’s Laszlo Csoknyai in the elimination round of the men’s 81 kilograms heats.