(AFP) – Aug 12, 2008
BEIJING (AFP) — Lone British weightlifter Michaela Breeze gritted her way through the pain barrier Tuesday as she completed her Olympic campaign in Beijing despite an injury incurred during an early lift that appeared to have dashed her hopes.
The physical education teacher from Devon, south-west England, staged a dramatic recovery and elected to continue after it had been announced she was "injured", having missed her turn to complete her three snatch attempts after two successful heaves of 80kg and 85kg.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist was down and out and face down on the floor while her coach massaged her back and rivals walked past for their turn ib the platform.
But on her return from treatment the pony-tailed 29-year-old converted 80kg and 90kg in the clean and jerk and, as the announcer urged the crowd to show its appreciation for her "plucky spirit", completed her final attempt for 100kg for a total 185kg.
She began crying as she triumphantly held the barbell above her head to roars from the crowd, and later collapsed onto the floor sobbing.
She later waved to the crowd as she exited the stage.
The favoured lifters in her weight class are to take their turn later Tuesday.
Breeze was the first woman to represent Britain in weightlifting at the Athens Olympics in 2004, when she lifted 120kg in the clean and jerk but only 92.5kg in the snatch, which left her back in ninth place overall in the women's 58kg division.
Injury meant she missed out on several ranking events in the lead-up to Beijing and had a nervous wait before being cleared to compete at these Games.
Unlike other sports, where national bodies decide selection, the International Weightlifting Federation selects the lifters that compete at an Olympics, with a top-10 ranking the normal entry requirement.
Having moved up to 63kg, Breeze had trained flat-out in recent months while waiting for the call-up, describing the experience as akin to being in "no man's land".
She later said she was "absolutely delighted to get a place, all the hard work has paid off and I'm really looking forward to getting out there".
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