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Armenians in Baku Games 02
Geghakert, Armenia
By lordcob
22 May 2015

Felix Aliyev, 76, trains a pupil in a gym in the village of Geghakert, Armenia. Despite having coached children who would become world champions, Aliyev’s gym lacks even toilet or showering facilities. During the ethnic conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis that erupted in the early nineties, many escaped to their respective countries. Some decided to stay and change their identities but despite sharing the same surname as the president of Azerbaijan, Aliyev has lived in peace ever since. During the war, his pupils took shifts to sleep at his house to protect him just in case. Both Armenians and Azerbaijanis remain virtually banned from each others countries.

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Armenians in Baku Games 14
Geghakert, Armenia
By lordcob
22 May 2015

Yuri Sargsyan, 54, supervises a young wannabe weightlifter in a gym in the village of Geghakert. A weightlifting world champion several times over, he is now the coach of the Australian Olympic team. Many athletes choose to migrate to other countries due to the dire economical situation of Armenia. After 1991, the country remained geographically isolated, cut off from Azerbaijan and Turkey, and industry formerly dependent on the Soviet Union all but collapsed. Most of the country survives on remittances from family living abroad.

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Armenians in Baku Games 11
Yerevan, Armenia
By lordcob
12 May 2015

Businessmen stop to pump some iron at an open-air gym in Yerevan. In the run-up to the European Games, a big debate raged in the country dover whether Armenian athletes should participate. Ironically, both countries excel in fighting sports such as wrestling and boxing.

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Mook, the Teen Thai Weightlifter
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
17 May 2013

Mook, 17, never fathomed any other way of life, an existence outside the rice fields and subsistence farming. Having lost her mother at the age of 9, she moved to Surin, one of the poorest provinces in Thailand, to live with her father's family. From then on, she was made to work in the fields, clean the house and look after her younger cousins. At 12, a friend of the family noticed her strong build and suggested she earn her way by weightlifting - which is just what she did. Before long, she had secured a scholarship from the National Youth Team in Bangkok and began a new life. Now she receives a small salary and has a safe place to stay while she pursues her high school studies. Many children and young people from poor families in Thailand are sent to this kind of program where they get a chance to study and earn a little discretionary income. Most of them choose traditional boxing, Muay Thai, but as several female Thai athletes have begun winning Olympic weightlifting medals, the sport has become more popular.

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Mook, the Teen Thai Weightlifter (1 o...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Mook getting ready for training at the Thai-Japanese Stadium. She has to use gym chalk to grab the weightlifting bars properly.

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Mook, the Teen Thai Weightlifter (2 o...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Mook getting ready for training at the Thai-Japanese Stadium. She trains at least five days per week.

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Mook, the Teen Thai Weightlifter (3 o...
Bangkok, Thailand.
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Siptiporng Minchaleung (a.k.a. San), 65 years old, Mook's coach, with some male weightlifters at the Thai-Japanese Stadium. He trains a total of 9 weightlifters (both males and females).

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Mook, the Teen Thai Weightlifter (4 o...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Mook getting ready for training at the Thai-Japanese Stadium. She trains at least five days per week.

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Mook, the Teen Thai Weightlifter (5 o...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Mook trains at the Thai-Japanese Stadium. She trains at least five days per week. She is able to lift 85 Kg (clean and jerk competition) and 67 Kg (snatch competition).

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Mook, the Teen Thai Weightlifter (6 o...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Mukda Rueandsuksud, 17 years old, also known as Mook, getting ready for training at the Thai-Japanese Stadium. She trains at least five days per week.

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Mook, the Teen Thai Weightlifter (7 o...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Siwanan Yodyang, 15 years old, (a.k.a Joy) and Siriporn Samrandee, 20 years old, (a.k.a. Jane) are Mook's colleagues and best friends. They all train at the Thai-Japanese Stadium.

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Mook, the Teen Thai Weightlifter (8 o...
Bangkok, Thailand.
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Siptiporng Minchaleung (a.k.a. San), 65 years old, Mook's coach at the Thai-Japanese Stadium. He trains a total of 9 weightlifters (both males and females).

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Mook, The Teenage Thai Weightlifter
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
03 Mar 2013

Mook, 17, never imagined she could have a different life, away from ricefields and farming. Having lost her mother at the age of 9, she moved to Surin, one of the poorest provinces in Thailand, to live with her father’s family. She was then obliged to work in the fields, clean the house and look after her younger cousins. At 12, a friend of the family saw her strong body and suggested her to earn her life with weightlifting. She got a scholarship for the National Youth Team in Bangkok and started a new life. Now she gets a small salary and has a safe place to stay while she pursues her studies in high school.

Many children and youth from poor families in Thailand are sent to this kind of programmes to get a chance to study and earn some money. Most of them choose the traditional boxing, Muay Thai, but weightlifting is becoming more popular as some Thai female athletes have recently won some Olympic medals.