Gururaja Poojary, a 25-year-old weightlifter from Karnataka, won India's first medal at the Commonwealth Games 2018 as early as on the opening day — Thursday, April 5, when he clinched a Silver in the 56kg category.
A debutant at the quadrennial multi-sport spectacle, Gururaja achieved a total lift of 249kg, which is also his personal best at the Carrara Sports Arena in Gold Coast.
#GC2018Weightlifting #GC2018— IOA - Team India (@ioaindia) April 5, 2018
The mighty GURURAJA comes in 2nd winning #TeamIndia its first ? #Medal at the @GC2018 lifting total weight of 249kg in the Men's 56kg event! #Congratulations #TeamMalaysia & #TeamSriLanka @WeightliftingIN @Media_SAI pic.twitter.com/qgH7Aam0ls
He started the day by lifting 107kg in the snatch and came up with a better performance, recording 111kg in his final attempt.
Gururaja then lifted 138kg in clean and jerk in his final attempt after two failed chances to finish on the podium. Muhammad Izhar Ahmad of Malaysia won the Gold while Chaturanga Lakmal of Sri Lanka finished behind the Indian weightlifter.
'Not my best performance'
"I am very happy to have opened India's medal account in the Games. It was nowhere close to being my best performance but I am glad that it was enough to get me a silver medal," Gururaja said after winning the medal, as quoted by Press Trust of India.
"I didn't quite understand why my second lift was not declared valid. It was disallowed for a minor movement of the arm.
"Had it been allowed I could have gone for a higher lift an perhaps target gold. But still, I am happy," the lifter added.
Here's all that you need to know about Gururaja, India's first medalist at the Gold Coast Games
- Gururaja Poojary was born on August 15, 1992, in Kundapur, a coastal village in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka
- The son of a pick-up-truck-driver, Gururaja has seven siblings
- Gururaja and his family suffered from lack of financial stability as his father found it difficult to make ends meet with his job as truck driver
- The financial situation worsened when his father's truck was damaged in an accident almost 10 years ago, according to The Indian Express
- However, his father, despite not initially liking his son's passion towards sport, managed to fund him
- Gururaja wanted to become a wrestler after seeing his idol Sushil Kumar win a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing
- However, the young Karnataka man's dreams were dashed as he was not able to find a proper wrestling academy at Ujire, a small town near Mysore where he attended college
- Gururaja, an employee of the Indian Air Force, came to prominence when he won a Gold at the 2016 Commonwealth senior weightlifting Championships in Penang, Malaysia. He managed to win a bronze medal at last year's edition in Gold Coast.