A “battle to the death” earned Indonesian weightlifter Triyatno a silver medal at the London Olympics on Tuesday evening (Wednesday morning Jakarta time) despite a gloomy day for the national badminton squad, two of whose shuttlers were expelled from the competition.
The audience at the ExCel Arena, where the medals for the men’s 69 kilogram category were decided, fell silent when the Indonesian strongman tried to lift 188 kilograms in the clean and jerk.
An East Kalimantan contender, Triyatno felt his legs nearly collapse under him as he tried to keep the bar from falling.
He was staring failure in the face, but he held his nerve and triumphed.
“I kept telling myself ‘I have to bear the weight, no matter what. It’s my last chance. It doesn’t matter even if I have to die here’,” Triyatno said as quoted by Antara news agency after collecting the silver — the second medal for Indonesia.
“I almost fell but I kept holding on until I dropped the weight on order.”
Triyatno, who claims to have never once rehearsed a clean and jerk during his training session, was already assured of the bronze when he lifted 186 kilograms in the clean and jerk.
“But if I wanted to win the silver, I had to be able to lift 188 kilograms. I just wanted to try my best,” said the 24-year-old Lampung-born athlete.
In the end, he surpassed his achievement at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he won bronze.
In total, he lifted 333 kilograms, including 145 kilograms in the snatch.
Triyatno was 11 kilograms behind Chinese gold medalist Lin Qinfeng (157 kilograms in the snatch and 187 kilograms in the clean and jerk).
Indonesia now stands at 25th place in the medal tally, thanks to Triyatno’s silver and fellow lifter Eko Yuli Irawan’s bronze.
Indonesia, which sent six weightlifters to London, has now completed its quest in the sport.
Triyatno has become Indonesia’s spearhead at the quadrennial event.
After winning a bronze and silver in two Olympics, he is now aiming for a gold medal in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“Insya Allah [God willing] I can still perform in Rio,” he said.