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ECU Claims Gold as Pan America Sweeps Women’s 76kg

Athletes from Pan America swept the podium Sunday in the women’s 76kg bodyweight competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

Gold medalist and Olympic Champion DAJOMES BARRERA Neisi Patricia became ECU’s first woman to ever win gold.  

“I feel really happy and really proud,” DAJOMES BARRERA said of her 263kg total, a new Pan American record. “In snatch I had lifted the weight (before); in clean & 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.”

She’s the third athlete from ECU to win a medal at the Olympic Games after PEREZ Jefferson won two medals in the race walk (gold in 1996 and silver in 2008) and CARAPAZ Richard won the men’s cycling road race at Tokyo 2020.

DAJOMES BARRERA celebrated her family on the platform with “mama & hermano”, mother & brother, written on her palm. 

2019 IWF World Champion Nye KATHERINE ELIZABETH landed the silver medal– her nation’s first silver in women’s weightlifting at the Olympic Games.

“It feels surreal, I feel like I’ve had such a whirlwind,” NYE said. “I started lifting in 2016, so the fact that I’m here in 2021 with a medal around my neck is just unreal.”

NYE looked strong with a 249kg total. Her third snatch, a 114kg total, was initially ruled a good lift, but was later overturned by the jury for dropping the barbell above the shoulders. That didn’t shake NYE’s confidence heading into the clean & jerk. 

“That was one of the best lifts I’ve ever done in my life, especially at that weight,” NYE said. “But when it comes down to it, I broke the rules. I saw it and I was like, ‘Oh shoot’. It’s something you don’t think about very often, especially in a highly emotional moment like that. It’s a disappointment, but they were right and all I can do is learn from it, and that’s what I plan on doing.”

MEX claimed Mexico its fourth Olympic medal in weightlifting and its first since 2012, with FUENTES ZAVALA Aremi’s bronze medal-winning performance. 

“I put a lot of effort into getting to this moment – in this moment I believed the most in myself.” FUENTES ZAVALA said. “It means a lot to me and my family, and obviously also for my country it means a lot.”

FUENTES ZAVALA put up her 245kg total early in the clean & jerk competition and had to watch other athletes try to take her spot on the podium. 

“Of course the nerves are always there, but I have worked very hard on the psychological aspect of the sport to inhibit this nervousness and everything that comes with it. I believe in my own work while doing my sport, and not being influenced by the results of the other athletes,” FUENTES ZAVALA said. 

The women’s weightlifting competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 concludes Monday with the 87kg and +87kg bodyweight categories decided. A combined 87kg/+87kg B session gets underway at the Tokyo International Forum at 11:50AM Japan time, followed by the 87kg A session at 3:50PM and the +87kg A session at 7:50pm.