IMAGE: India’s Achinta Sheuli during the men’s weightlifting 73kg final. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Getty Images
Weightlifter Achinta Sheuli (73kg) lived up to his top billing as he clinched India’s third gold in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Favourite to win the event, debutant Sheuli heaved 313kg (143kg+170kg) to grab the gold at NEC Hall on Sunday.
Malaysia’s Erry Hidayat Muhammad, who gave Sheuli a tough competition, ended as the second best lifter in the event. He had a best effort of 303kg (138kg+165kg).
Canada’s Shad Darsigny was third with a total lift of 298kg (135kg+163kg).
“I’m very happy about this, I’ve worked hard for this medal. A lot of sacrifices of my brother, mother, my coach and the Army have gone into this medal,” Sheuli said after the win.
“This was the first major event in my life and I’m thankful for them to help me reach here. This medal will help me in every aspect of life. There should not be looking back from now on.”
Asked to whom he would dedicate his gold medal, Sheuli said, “I wish to dedicate this medal to my late dad (who died of heart attack), my brother and my coach Vjay Sharma who slaps me if I do a mistake, keeps scolding me like I’m his own child.”
IMAGE: From left, Silver medalist Erry Hidayat Muhammad of Malaysia, Gold medalist Achinta Sheuli of India and Bronze medalist Shad Darsigny of Canada. Photograph: by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images
Sheuli, a junior world championship silver medallist, executed three clean lifts — 137kg, 140kg and 143kg — in the snatch section.
His 143kg effort helped him smash the Games record and improve his personal best.
Heading into clean an jerk with a five kilogram advantage, the Kolkata lifter started with a 166kg lift, which he hoisted easily.
Sheuli then faltered his 170kg attempt only to heave the weight in the third attempt and create a new Games record in total lift (313kg).
The Indian lifter had to wait patiently towards the end to find out what medal he’d take home as the Malaysian attempted a 176kg lift in his last two attempts only to fail.
Asked what his coach Sharma told him before the final clean and jerk attempt, Sheuli said, “He told me this gold belongs to me just keep calm and go for it. I was a bit nervous but his performance was way below me and I went for it.”
With the gold from Sheuli, the Indian weightlifting contingent has bagged its sixth medal of the Games.