By Venkatachari Jagannathan
The parents of Sathish Kumar Sivalingam who defended his Commonwealth Games title successfully on Saturday at Gold Coast, Australia were tension free now.
Of course they are happy with their son winning the gold medal in the 77 kilogram category of the men's weightlifting competition.
"Sometime prior to the Games he suffered a leg injury. During the 2014 Commonwealth Games he was in good form," S.Deivanai, the champion's mother, told IANS over phone.
"He never came home without a medal. It was only in the Olympics he came back medal less," she added.
Concurring with her was husband and Sathish's father N.Sivalingam.
"We were tense. Sathish used to speak to us over phone. He had said the competition from Australian and England weightlifters would be tough," Sivalingam said.
"We felt very proud when the Indian national anthem was played when Sathish was on the podium," Sivalingam, an ex-serviceman, added.
Recalling his champion son's initiation into the sport, Sivalingam said: "When Sathish was in eighth standard he told us that his school physical training master had asked him to participate in the weight lifting competition. I agreed and started training him."
"Sathish won the district championship and then won the national schools championship. He then won the junior and senior titles," Sivalingam added.
Asked about the food regimen when Sathish was training under him, Sivalingam said: "Apart from daily practice we took care of his food needs. We provided him half-a-litre of milk, quarter kilo of meat and two eggs everyday. This sport needs lots of protein and one should not feel tired."
"Coffee is a no no as it has caffeine. Sathish listened to me dutifully and practiced. Later he went to the national camp in Patiala," he added.
"Between 2006-2009 Sathish was under me and in 2010 he went to the national camp. During his school days, Sathish won the gold medal in national level competition for schools in 2007. He has won several gold medals at school and at the national level weightlifting championships," L.Vinayagamoorthy, Weightlifting Coach at the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, Vellore told IANS.
According to Sivalingam, people took to weightlifting in Satuvachari in the earlier days as it was the route for a good job in Railways, Army and other government organisations.
"Even forty years ago there were gyms," he added.
And another early morning gift for us, a golden start to the day. Congratulations #SathishSivalingam on our third #GC2018Weightlifting Gold in Men's 77kg, lifting 317kg. Great effort despite the hamstring injury. His second successive gold after the one in Glasgow. #CWG2018 pic.twitter.com/18vDzPVLtrVirender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) April 7, 2018
According to Vinayagamoorthy, the Vellore district has produced four Arjuna Awardees, six Olympians and over 40 medal winners in international competitions.
Vinayagamoorthy said initially people took to weightlifting as it was the route for a government job. Later weightlifiting became a favourite sport.
So what next?
The parents are eager to get their 26-year-old son married to a suitable girl.
"He is saying that he would continue for some more time as age is on his side. He wants an Olympic medal. But as parents we want our son to get settled in life," Deivanai said.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at email@example.com)