Birmingham, July 31, Weightlifters led by the stunning Saikhom Mirabai Chanu opened India’s medal count at the 2022 Commonwealth Games here with gold, silver and bronze medals, winning medals in all three events held in the weightlifting arena so far to raise the country to seventh in medal count with Hopes for at least one more medal for the day with the Indians occupying two more times on Saturday.
Maharashtra’s Sanket Sargar set the ball for India by winning the country’s first medal at Birmingham 2022 – the silver in men’s 55kg weightlifting, and Gururaja Pujari of Karnataka taking bronze in the men’s 61kg in the morning session.
Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Mirabai Chanu rose to the podium to win the country’s first gold medal at this edition as she put in an impressive performance to lead the field with a distance in the women’s 49kg class. Games record to boot as India made a solid start in Birmingham. Former world champion in the 49kg category, Mirabai easily held the gold medal she won on the Gold Coast in 2018.
Mirabai completely dominated the court and finished the streets ahead of the entire competition where she was expected to win the gold medal. The 27-year-old from Manipur usually lifts 20-30kg more than the field, with a total weight of 201kg.
By far the best weightlifter in this class, Mirabai lifted 88kg in the snatch and then added 113kg in the clean jerk to leave the opponent’s path behind. Mirabai won the gold with 201kg, while Mary Hanitra Rolila Ranaifuswa from Mauritius took the silver with a total of 172kg while Canada’s Hana Kaminsky took the bronze with a total of 171kg.
Four years ago, Mirabai won gold on the Gold Coast while Ranaivusua, a personal trainer at her day job, took second place. The arrangement remained the same in Birmingham as well.
India could have easily grabbed two golds on Saturday, but Sanket Sargar picked up an injury during the jerk section of the men’s 55kg competition and lost to the yellow metal by just 1kg.
When he lifted 139kg on his second attempt in the men’s 55kg jerk section, Sargar clearly heard something in his arm. He couldn’t complete the lift because the pain penetrated his arm to the entire body.
The diminutive lifter returned to the warm-up area and chatted with his coach before heading out for his third and final attempt at the 139kg. But the pain was excruciating and there was neither enough time nor any attempt to avoid declaring the doctor medically unfit to compete, and Sanket bravely tried to lift the 139 and failed again.
22-year-old Sargar from Sangli district in Maharashtra lifted a total of 248kg but was overtaken by Malaysian Muhammed Anq Bin Kasdan, who came from behind to lift 142kg clean and jerk on his third and final attempt. , bringing his total score to 249. The Malaysian raised 107 in snatches before choosing 142 in cleanliness and jerks for a total gaming record. Sargar can only run 135 per jerk and clean. Sri Lankan Isoru Kumara Yudaj won the bronze with a total of 225.
Gururaja took India’s second medal that day when he made his best attempt in a new weight class for a bronze medal.
The 27-year-old Junior Petty Officer (JWO) married in the Indian Air Force in May 2021 but decided to leave his wife with his parents in Karnataka so that he could focus on his career.
All those sacrifices paid dividends, as on Saturday Gururaja took home a bronze medal in the men’s 61kg weight class at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, his first medal in that weight class.
Gururaja put in the best effort in his last attempt in the men’s 61kg class, and did his best by lifting 151 on his third attempt in a clean and jerk way. He had a best effort of 118 in the snatch, giving him a total of 269 kg. He finished the season behind Malaysian Muhammad Aznel Bin Badin, who lifted 127 in snatch and 158 in clean and jerk with a total of 285, a new record in the games.
Muriya Barrow of Papua New Guinea took the silver with a total of 272 points (121 in snatch and 152 in clean and jerk, finishing well on Gururaja, who finished just 1kg over Yuri Simard of Canada, who had 268.
As they say, ‘A good start is half the end’, a good start given by Mirabai, Sanket Sargar and Gururaja will surely raise the hopes of the rest of the lifters and keep India’s hopes of dominating the powerlifting competitions at the Commonwealth Games once again.
Read also: Not a political but an educational app My new project: Ganguly
Recommended: Sports fan app