Sports News

Mexican weightlifter Soraya Jimenez dies at age 35

File Photo of Mexican weightlifter Soraya Jimenez at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, September 18, 2000. REUTERS/Files

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican weightlifter Soraya Jimenez, a gold medalist at the Sydney games in 2000, died at age 35 on Thursday from a heart attack, Mexico’s Olympic Committee said.

Jimenez, who was battling various health problems and had just one lung, became a national hero as Mexico’s first woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

The athlete surprised many by retiring from the sport shortly after the Athens games in 2004. In 2002, she was accused of doping, but was later exonerated.

Jimenez won her gold medal in Sydney in the women’s 58 kg weightlifting category after lifting a total of 225.5 kilograms (497 pounds).

The athlete told a Mexican magazine in 2010 that she had a weakened immune system after contracting the flu several times and also had problems with her left knee, which had been operated on 14 times.

Reporting by Anahi Rama; Editing by Todd Eastham