Tuesday, March 21, 2006
It was at the last Olympics the world saw the significance of weight lifters leaving their boots at the edge of the competition square. This means they are retiring from competition. Well a variation on the theme came from veteran Australia weightlifter, Yourik Sarkisian . The Armenian-born strongman, one of the most experienced competitors at these Commonwealth Games , finally conceded that at 44 years of age and after 26 years in competition, his time in the sport is over. After failing to lift 146kg Sarkisian conceded, and in a symbolic gesture of retirement, removed his shoes and held them above his head before leaving the platform. It marked the end of a distinguished career. Sarkisian used to represent the Soviet Union and at the 1980 Moscow Olympics he won a silver medal in the 56kg class. Since then has competed in three Olympic Games and two Commonwealth Games. He won three silver medals in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games, and three gold medals in Manchester in 2002, all in the 62 kg class. However, Sarkisian said after the competition that his retirement might not be permanent. Dika Toua turned on a courageous effort to lift Papa New Guinea onto the medal dais at the Commonwealth Games. The lady weightlifter injured her right foot in and unsuccessful second lift and was sadly unable to make a third lift. The courageous effort of the Hanuabada pocket dynamo was good enough to give PNG a silver medal in the 53kg category.