Who is Soraya Jiménez? The life and achievements of Soraya Jiménez, famous Mexican female weightlifter and Olympic champion.
Soraya Jiménez (Naucalpan de Juárez, State of Mexico, August 5, 1977 – Mexico City, March 28, 2013) was a Mexican weightlifter. She managed to win a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, which made her the first Mexican athlete to achieve one of these at the Olympic Games.
Biography and career
Soraya Jiménez Mendivil was born on August 5, 1977 in Naucalpan, State of Mexico, daughter of public accountant José Luis Jiménez and María Dolores Mendívil. She started in the sport at an early age when she began to play in elementary basketball with her twin sister Magali Jiménez, to the point of being selected for children and later youth in this sport.
After also trying her luck in other sports such as badminton and swimming, between the ages of 11 and 14, Jiménez discovered her taste for weightlifting, so she began to fully integrate into this sport, guided by her teachers who saw potential in her abilities. to support large weights and began to enroll in various tournaments.
Soraya began to stand out more and more nationally in weightlifting and her first international title was achieved at the age of 16 when she obtained a third place in weightlifting at the NORCECA Cup in Colorado Springs, United States in the 54 kg category, where she achieved lift 120 total kilograms.
In 1996 she achieved her first victory in a competition, by winning gold at the Simón Bolívar International Tournament in Carúpano, Venezuela, where she lifted a total of 170 kilos, setting a Mexican record for the first time.
The International Olympic Committee approved in 1997 the participation of women in weightlifting within the Olympic Games.
Later he conquered the Youth Olympiad, the Central American and Caribbean Games in 1998, obtained silver in the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1999 and participated in many other international competitions which allowed him to qualify for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Her most glorious moment came on September 18, 2000, when Jiménez made history by becoming the first Mexican woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games, taking first place in the last lift of the competition to accumulate a total of 127.5 kg lifted and surpassing the favorite competitor the North Korean Ri Song Hui and also obtaining a gold medal for Mexico that had not been obtained since Los Angeles 1984.
Doping, scandals and health problems
In 2002 Soraya Jiménez was involved in an international scandal, since one of the requirements to participate in the World University Weightlifting Championship in Turkey was precisely to be a university student. Jiménez presented apocryphal documents that accredited her as an intern at UNAM, a situation that was denounced by the Mexican Federation of this sport. Soraya blamed the federation authorities at first, but then fully accepted her blame. In this same year, the International Weightlifting Federation notified her Mexican counterpart that it was detected that Jiménez had used prohibited substances (doping) in the Pan American Championship in Venezuela, which disabled her from competing for six months. Added to this series of problems was her poor performance, as she placed ninth overall at the World Championships in Warsaw, Poland. After failing to qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics, she decided to withdraw from high-performance competitions that same year.
After her retirement, Soraya Jiménez began to show many deterioration in health. The Olympic medalist accumulated a clinical history of 14 operations on her left leg, several cardiorespiratory arrests and the loss of a lung that was removed in 2007 due to the type B influenza that she contracted in July of that year during the Pan American Games in Rio. de Janeiro that even kept her on the brink of death for 15 days.
Despite her health status, she continued to make public appearances and was even part of Televisa Deportes as a guest commentator on certain special occasions such as the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games as well as on comedy shows of the same company, mentioning a sketch she co-starred together. to Eugenio Derbez. She also served for a time as a Weightlifting teacher at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, although in this case she had to carry out this work by traveling continuously between Mexico City and the capital of the State of Mexico. the time was taken advantage of by politicians and others for favors that sometimes did not yield economic gains. She facing a difficult economic situation but not appreciable at first glance.
It is even mentioned that Fernando Platas during the time he was a sports leader in the State of Mexico did not provide him with enough support; Even today the rough edges with Fernando Platas and the family of the late weightlifter have not been completely resolved since for many acquaintances it is only propaganda to clean the public image of the latter as an official, even the latter’s sister in his time as Soraya’s representative even mentioned that she had to attend certain events (which she did attend), but in the end she never received any salary for these public appearances and the aforementioned representative charged stratospheric amounts for her that were never paid, being one of the situations difficult that at the same time increased their poor health.
On March 28, 2013, Jiménez died at the age of 35 in her department located in Mexico City due to an acute myocardial infarction.