India opened its account at the Commonwealth Games 2018 after P Gururaja, a weighlifter from Karnataka won the silver medal in the men’s 56 kg final with a total lift of 249 kg.
Gururaja lifted 111 kg in snatch and 138 kg in clean and jerk to power his way to the silver medal at Gold Coast in Brisbane, Australia.
But it was not all smooth sailing for the weightlifter from Kundapura in Udupi district as he failed to lift the weight of 138 kg in his first two attempts but managed to lift it in his final attempt to secure the medal.
“After I failed the first two attempts, my coach reminded me how much my life depends on this. I remembered my family and my country,” he said speaking to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of his medal-winning effort.
The gold medal was won by Izahar Ahmad of Malaysia who lifted a total weight of 261 kg while Chaturanga Lakmal from Sri Lanka won the bronze medal.
Gururaja, who is the son of a truck driver, is employed with the Indian Air Force. He recently received the Eklavya award from the Karnataka state government.
Gururaja was inspired by Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar and wanted to take up the sport but his coach taught him weightlifting and he has not looked back ever since.
“Being a sports minister and minister in-charge of Udupi district, I am very happy that the one of our boys has won the first medal at the Commonwealth Games,” said Pramod Madhwaraj, Minister of Youth Fisheries and Sport for Karnataka, speaking to TNM.
Madhwaraj also hinted that Gururaja is likely to get a government job as a group B officer.