"I have decided to retire, although I always wanted to compete at these Olympics," Pawina Thongsuk told reporters, with tears running down her face. "It all depended on my physical condition but this injury has affected my consistency and my record."
Her retirement was met with disappointment in Thailand, where Pawina, an army sergeant, became an instant celebrity after her gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The win sparked celebrations across the country and led to sizable cash bonuses for Pawina, who on her return was paraded through her rural village with a caravan of elephants. A year later, she won three world titles in the 63kg class in Doha and became the first female lifter in over a century to set world records in three different bodyweight categories.
She was named 2005 female weightlifter of the year and returned to Doha a year later for theAsian Games. Meanwhile a University graduate, Pawina went on to win the only major title whichhad eluded her but suffered an injury in the process.