Mon, 20 Sep 2021

© Provided by Xinhua

Weightlifter Neisi Patricia Dajomes Barrera became the first female athlete from Ecuador to win an Olympic gold medal.

TOKYO, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Neisi Patricia Dajomes Barrera of Ecuador dominated the women's 76kg classification at Tokyo 2020 on Sunday, winning gold by a huge margin of 14kg ahead of American Katherine Nye.

Nye, junior world champion in 2019, clinched silver with a total of 249kg, and the bronze went to Arem Fuentes Zavala of Mexico with 245kg.

Barrera, the bronze medalist at the 2019 World Championships, stormed to a comfortable lead in the snatch as she hoisted 118kg, five kilos more than Iryna Dekha of Ukraine, winner in the European championships this year.

The 23-year-old extended her advantage in the clean and jerk with a lift of 145kg, totaling 263kg to win. She has become the first woman in Ecuador to win an Olympic gold medal.

"I feel really happy and really proud," said Barrera.

"In snatch I had lifted the weight (before); in clean and jerk it was the first time I have lifted 145kg. The training regimen has given me the strength to be comfortable in all my competitions, and that's what you can see."

© Provided by Xinhua

Barrera drew a lot of attention when she wore a colorful headband while competing.

"I've been lifting for 12 years and I've always tried to get myself noticed this way, to show myself as having something on my head, having my nails painted or having different socks or different-coloured shoes," she explained.

"Just because I'm a weightlifting woman doesn't mean that I have to not look like a woman, not present myself as a woman or cannot place myself this way," Barrera added.

22-year-old Nye won the world title in the women's 71kg event in 2019, an event not on the Olympic program. The only female representing the United States to win an Olympic gold medal in weightlifting was Tara Nott at Sydney 2000.

"I think USA weightlifting has been looked down on for a very long time now, and I feel like the talent and all of our hard work is finally showing up now," said Nye.

"I just hope that I can inspire a new generation of American weightlifters to expect more out of themselves, because we can do it."

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