She lifts four times her own bodyweight
Weightlifting has a very long Olympic history. Indeed, this sport has been on the Olympic programme since 1896. On the other hand, women’s participation is much more recent. Women’s events were organised from the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. That year, 85 female athletes from 47 National Olympic Committees competed for seven Olympic titles. Raema Lisa Rumbewas was one of them.
For the Indonesian, who had finished seventh in the World Championships the previous year, the task promised to be difficult in the 48kg category. During the competition, and competing against 12 participants, Raema Lisa lifted 80kg in the snatch and 100.5kg in the clean-and-jerk. Before her last attempt, with a total of 180.5kg, she was second in the ranking with the same weight as the USA’s Tara Nott. Unfortunately for her, Raema failed her last attempt at 107.5kg. She was rewarded with the silver medal. Disappointed at missing out on the opportunity to become Olympic champion, she acknowledged making mistakes that cost her the title. For Indonesia, it was a superb day, however, as another Indonesian woman, Sri Indriyani, took the bronze medal in the same event. These were the country’s first weightlifting medals.
In 2002, like 939 other athletes, Raema Lisa obtained an Olympic Solidarity scholarship to prepare for the Athens Games in 2004. In Greece, she competed in the 53kg category. With her coach, she decided to remain prudent - limiting herself to the weights she was sure to lift in her first attempts. This time, she lifted a total of 210kg! But Thailand’s Udomporn Polsak, who chose a more aggressive and risky tactic, went beyond that with 222.5kg. Another silver medal for Raema Lisa, with the bronze going to Colombia’s Mabel Mosquera. Two years later, at the World Championships, the Indonesian achieved the same feat as at the Games, and took another silver medal. She thus confirmed herself as among the best in the world.
With two Olympic medals to her name, she joins in the Indonesian sport hall of fame her compatriot, badminton player Susi Susanti, who is also a double Olympic medallist.
At the Olympic Games in Beijing, Raema Lisa Rumbewas was still at the top. She lifted 91kg in the snatch and 115kg in the clean-and-jerk. It was not quite enough to earn her a place on the podium. With a total of 206kg, she was fourth in the competition.