P Gururaja bags India’s first Commonwealth Games 2018

India got off to a great start at Commonwealth Games 2018 as weightlifter P Gururaja opened the country’s account on the first competition day by claiming a silver in the men’s 56kg category at Gold Coast, Australia. The 25-year-old equalled his personal best of 249kg (111+138) to finish second in a field where Malaysia’s three-time Commonwealth Championships medallist Muhammad Izhar Ahmed (117+144) broke the Games record for snatch and overall lift.

Gururaj survived a few nervous moments and failed in his first two attempts before managing a good lift off his last chance to zoom to the top half of the table. The third position was taken by Sri Lanka’s Lakmal Chaturanga (114+134).

Gururaj is the son of a truck driver and had aspired to be a wrestler for the longest time before being pushed into weightlifting by a watchful coach who saw potential in him. He is a low-ranking Indian Air Force employee and is a quintessential Indian sports story of immense hardships and just a tiny bit of luck.

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