November 19, 2013 / 6:53 AM / 5 years ago

N. Korea says money weakens weightlifting in the West

North Korea's Yun Chol Om competes on the 56Kg Group B weightlifting competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea has slammed the West’s “depraved capitalist system” for damaging the sport of weightlifting and putting commercial interests ahead of national honor.

North Korea won three weightlifting gold medals and one bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games, while Om Yun-chol, who won the 56 kilogram weight class in London, took home gold at last month’s World Championships in Poland.

The North’s official KCNA news agency said on Monday weightlifting was in a state of crisis in the West and that not a single lifter from the United States or Western Europe stood on the podium in Poland.

The KCNA reported that a former coach on the U.S. team had said it was impossible to make a living from weightlifting in his country as the development of sport was driven by what people liked to watch, not the country’s pursuit of Olympic gold medals.

“His remarks give a glimpse of American society where sport is abused as a means for moneymaking,” KCNA said.

“As a matter of fact, in capitalist society the national sports development depends on market, not on the state policy, and making money is regarded more important than to display nation’s honor.”

KCNA also reported that coaches and lifters from Britain and France bemoaned the lack of support for weightlifting in their countries.

“This is a tragedy produced by the depraved capitalist system in which money decides everything,” it said.

Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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