Russia's weighlifting gold medal favorite Khadzhimurat Akkaev is ready to risk his health to take part in the Olympic competitions just four days after having surgery, he told R-Sport on Sunday.
Akkaev, the world and European champion, was expected to take the top prize in the 105 kilogram class Monday until he was forced to go under the knife for a back problem Thursday.
Akkaev said he refused to withdraw his entry despite doctors' orders to refrain from exercise for six weeks.
"I still asked not to withdraw," Akkaev said. "I still somehow can not leave it."
"I worked hard, really. Even in such an unprepared condition, as I am now in, I might be enough to win. Somehow I have that hunch."
Akaaev won silver in Athens and bronze in Beijing in the 94kg division before stepping up to 105kg, where he won gold at the world championships in Paris in November.