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François Etoundi, The Cameroon-born Australian Weightlifter Who Claimed Bronze Despite Torn Bicep

There was intense pain but ultimately redemption for Francois Etoundi.

Four years after being sent home from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games for headbutting a fellow weightlifter, the Cameroon-born Australian clinched a second successive bronze medal on the Gold Coast and vowed to repair his relationship with Welsh adversary Gareth Evans.

Etoundi was mostly proud to lift a combined total of 305kg with a bicep held together only by strapping, if a bit disappointed not to claim the 77kg gold he was certain would have been his but for the injury.

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Two months ago he tore the muscle, which dropped down to his elbow a week before Saturday’s competition.

Ordered to rest by his doctor, it was some wonder the flamboyant 33-year-old snatched a best of 136kg and even managed a triumphant backflip.

It was during his second clean-and-jerk attempt Etoundi, sitting third behind India’s eventual gold medallist Satish Sivalingam (317kg) and England’s Jack Oliver (312kg), felt another tear and failed at 168kg.

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He upped the weight anyway and with a grimace, hoisted 169kg before collapsing to the platform clutching his shoulder as officials rushed to shield the audience.


By the time his bronze was confirmed, Etoundi’s arm was strapped with ice and strung up in a sling ready for surgery.

“The final lift was very painful … then when I put the bar down I felt a click on my shoulder, then it was too painful,” he said.

“But I’m glad I done the last weight, I pushed myself to get the bronze.

“I knew if I didn’t have this pain I could have won the gold easy and I pushed myself harder to show the public that with the pain I couldn’t do much better.”

Etoundi competed for Cameroon in Melbourne in 2006 before switching allegiances for Delhi 2010 though withdrew after rupturing his bicep in the warm-up.

He overcame a calf injury to claim bronze in Glasgow but was arrested and charged the next day after breaking Evans’ nose following a squabble over a girl.

A Glasgow court ordered Etoundi to pay compensation and he was sent him home in disgrace.

He says he’s since avoided approaching Evans, who won gold in the 69kg class on Friday, “because I don’t want drama”.

But now it’s time to patch things up.

“I’m going to go and see the guy and shake his hand to say ‘let’s forget the past’,” he said.



Written by How Africa News

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