RIBOUEM Simplice < Back  
Sport Weightlifting
CGA Australia   
Gender Men
Born 05 Dec 1982 in Douala, CMR
Height1.72 m
Weight 94 kg
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Family Wife Roni, son Samuel, son Nathan
Residence Melbourne, VIC, AUS
Occupation Athlete, Coach
Languages English, French
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? He took up the sport at age 12 in Cameroon.
Why this sport? He tried a number of sports when he was younger, including boxing. However, as his mother did not like the violence involved in the sport, his father suggested he should take up weightlifting instead.
Club / Team Hawthorn Weightlifting Club: Melbourne, VIC, AUS
Name of coach Yurik Sarkisyan [personal], from 2010
General Interest
Most influential person in career His father. (rio2016.olympics.com.au, 2016)
Hero / Idol Greek weightlifter Pyrros Dimas. (vis.org.au, 2012)
Injuries In early 2015 he contracted malaria following a trip home to Cameroon. (rio2016.olympics.com.au, 12 Feb 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto "You have to be strong mentally and have a quiet mind. If you are focused, it can make all the difference." (heraldsun.com.au, 05 Jan 2012)
Ambitions To compete at the Olympic Games. (Australian Weightlifting Federation YouTube Channel, 12 Dec 2015)
Other information MISSED GOLD MEDAL
He was denied a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, after the judges failed to notice that winner Steven Kari's elbow had touched his knee during his winning lift. The decision was described by International Weightlifting Federation [IWF] vice president Sam Coffa as "atrocious" and led to the introduction of video technology in the sport. "My coach said to me, 'Relax Simplice, everyone else out there said you won gold. Keep that in your mind. You were the winner'. I feel like a winner. He [Kari] knows I feel like the winner," Ribouem said at the time. (insidethegames.biz, 17 Nov 2014; smh.com.au, 30 Jul 2014)

He chose to remain in Australia after representing Cameroon at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Victoria. However, his first few days were tough as he had to sleep rough in a park before the Red Cross helped him. "I was scared. A security guard let me use his phone to call home because he was happy to meet an athlete. So I made the call and my father told me, 'If this country is safe for you, then you will find a way. Follow your heart, don't listen to what everyone else says and follow your heart'." (sbs.com.au, 10 Feb 2016; thesaturdaypaper.com.au, 10 Oct 2015; heraldsun.com.au, 05 Jan 2012)

He has unsuccessfully applied for a visa so his mother can come and visit him and his family in Australia on a number of occasions since 2013. She lives in Cameroon, and Ribouem has become more concerned for her well-being since his father passed away from a heart attack in 2015. "I have rented her a place very far away from the city to keep her safe. I pay her money every month to stay there quietly." (sbs.com.au, 10 Feb 2016; smh.com.au, 10 Oct 2010)