GLASGOW: National weightlifter Mohd Hafifi Mansor (pic) cried out for his mother - and lifted Malaysia to its first Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medal on the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Hafifi had the audience transfixed with his antics. He flailed his arms like a bird flapping its wing and then let out a cry of mak (mother) before lifting the weights.
"Yes, I was nervous and I called for my mother to comfort me. It helped keep me calm and composed during my routines.
There was an unusual feeling before the competition started and I was quite nervous like never before," said Hafifi after winning in the men's 69kg category.
The 24-year-old brought huge cheer to the Malaysian camp that had been waiting anxiously to hear the strains of Negara Ku and seeing the Jalur Gemilang being raised for the first time in Glasgow.
Prior to his gold, Malaysia only had two silvers and three bronzes to show for since the Games began on Thursday.
The flamboyant Hafifi, who won a bronze at the 2010 Games in New Delhi, said calling out for his mother made him feel he had her comforting arms around him.
"I must thank her for this sweet victory," said Hafifi, who will receive RM80,000 under the National Sports Council (NSC) incentive scheme for a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Hafifi said it would be a grand Hari Raya celebration with his 48-year-old mother, Norizam Embong, when he returns to Kuala Terengganu.
"The money will come in handy to buy a new house for my mother," said Hafifi, who lifted 135kg in the snatch and 170kg in the clean and jerk for 305kg total.
However, it was far from his personal best of 141kg in the snatch and 180kg in the clean and jerk.
Nigeria's Yinka Ayenuwa won the silver with a lift of 130kg in the snatch and 171kg in the clean and jerk for a 301kg total.
India's Omkar Otari took the bronze with 136kg in the snatch and 160kg in the clean and jerk for a 296kg total.
Malaysia's other representative, Mohd Huzairi Ramli, finished fifth.