Real Life

Where are they now: a medal for Mum

From health battles to missing persons, we update our biggest real-life stories of the year

When weightlifter Stas Chalaev appeared in the Weekly in June, he only had one wish – to win a Commonwealth Games medal in memory of his mother Larrisa.

The Auckland sportsman was 11 when he and his mum came to New Zealand from Russia. She was his only family here and Stas (23) was devastated when she committed suicide last year after a long battle with depression.

“oum would have wanted me to continue my weightlifting,” Stas said, just before the Games.

Inspired by his mother’s memory, Stas won a silver medal at the event in New Delhi, and when he stood on the podium, he clutched a photo of Larissa and whispered, “Thank you,” to her.

“It was a wonderful feeling,” says Stas, who is continuing with his weight-lifting career and has the next olympics in his sights. “on the day, I believe I had some help from oum, and I know she was extremely proud of me.”

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