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Tokyo 2020: A Family Affair for Team Madagascar

Team Madagascar at Tokyo 2020

Team Madagascar at Tokyo 2020

Siblings are used to sharing things. Whether it is toys as children or memories with their families as adults, siblings have an inherent understanding and appreciation of sharing. Thanks to a scheduling quirk, the ANDRIANTSITOHAINA brothers of Madagascar shared the Olympic stage during the third weightlifting session of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

“Both of us were on this road together and we are so happy to be here,” the older ANDRIANTSITOHAINA brother, Eric Herman, told the IWF after the competition. “It’s a pleasure [to share the Olympic platform with my brother].”

Since each National Olympic Committee can nominate only one athlete per bodyweight category at these Games, the ANDRIANTSITOHAINA brothers didn’t expect to compete at the same time. But, since the men’s 61kg and 67kg B groups were combined into one session at the Tokyo 2020 Games, both brothers were able to compete at the same time on the same platform. The brothers are the only athletes from Madagascar in the weightlifting competition at Tokyo 2020.

“It was good to compete with my brother,” the younger ANDRIANTSITOHAINA brother, Tojonirina Alain, 26, said. “Our family is very proud about the competition.”

ANDRIANTSITOHAINA Eric Herman, 30, had a strong showing in the 61kg B session, posting a 264kg total. His brother, Tojonirina Alain, put up a 285kg total in the men’s 67kg B session.

For the ANDRIANTSITOHAINA brothers, weightlifting is truly a family affair. 

“Weightlifting has been passed down generation to generation. My father was a weightlifter,” Tojonirina Alain said.

Beyond their family history, they also lean on each other for strength both on and off the platform.

“It was an extra motivation to have my brother here. It was motivating to have him here,” Eric Herman said. “When I feel bad he is there. When he feels bad I am here. We try to push up each other together every time.”

The future is bright for the ANDRIANTSITOHAINA brothers who look to share a coaching business when their competitive days are behind them. But those days will not be here soon.

“I pray to God I have the strength to compete again at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. I’d like to go to Paris and compete in one last Olympic Games,” Eric Herman said.

As for now, ANDRIANTSITOHAINA brothers want athletes around the world to continue training for excellence.

“Weightlifting is a great sport. Just believe in your dreams and train as hard as possible and you can succeed in this sport,” Tojonirina Alain said.