IMAGE: India’s S. Bindyarani Devi reacts as she competes in the women’s 55kg category weightlifting event at the Commonwealth Games. Photograph: PTI
Bindyarani Devi’s father closed his grocery shop and her brother recharged the DTH connection as part of their preparation to watch her perform at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Weightlifter Bindyarani, 23, kept the promise she made to her family by securing a silver in the 55kg category on Saturday night at the buzzing NEC arena. The 116kg she lifted in clean and jerk to move to the silver medal position was also a Games Record.
Now a big reception awaits in Manipur which has become a weightlifting hub in the country with the likes of Mirabai Chanu and Bindyarani’s idol Kunjarani Devi also hailing from the northeastern state.
It was the biggest medal of Bindyarani’s career and it took a decade to make her mark at the big stage though she had already won medals in the Commonwealth Championships.
Her first love was taekwondo but due to her height — 149 cm — the coaches advised her to switch to weightlifting.
“From 2008 to 2012 I was doing taekwondo. Then I switched to weightlifting. I had an issue with my height and people at SAI centre said my height was ideal for weightlifting. From 2013 onwards I am doing weightlifting,” she said.
The Bindyarani household had to make extensive preparation to make sure they do not miss on the action. Her father, who is also into farming, had to shut his grocery shop for the day.
“They have been preparing since yesterday. They did not have Sony10 in the house so my brother recharged. He and my friends said we will do a reception after you come back with a medal,” she said with a smile.
Bindyarani was in the running for a gold but she made a failed second attempt for 114kg before pulling off 2kgs more in the final attempt. Nigeria’s Adijat Adenike Olarinoye won the gold with total of 203kg, and the Indian ended with 202kg.
“If I had lifted 114kgs in the second attempt, I felt I would have gone for more in the third attempt. It was bit of a shock but I am thankful that I got a silver at least.”
Her next big target is the 2024 Olympics and she hopes to stay injury-free for that and beyond.
“By the grace of god, I have been injury-free all these years and hope to stay like that. Now I will go back to the Games Village and offer sweets to my teammates as promised and have some myself too,” she signed off.