CWG: Lifter Sanket Sargar wins silver to open India’s account

Sargar cruised past all his opponents in the snatch section, leading by six kilograms to head into clean and jerk.

(Image Courtesy: Twitter)

Partially fulfilling the promise he made to himself four years back, young weightlifter Sanket Sargar won a silver medal in men’s 55kg category, putting India on the medal tally at the Commonwealth Games here Saturday.

He targetted a gold medal but injured his right elbow while attempting to lift 139kg in clean and jerk to eventually settle for a second-place.

The 21-year-old managed a total of 248kg (113kg+135kg) to finish just one kilogram behind Malaysia’s Mohamad Aniq, who smashed the Games record in clean and jerk as he lifted 249kg (107kg+142kg) to win the gold.

Sri Lanka’s Dilanka Isuru Kumara 225kg (105kg+120kg) took home the bronze.

“There were no errors committed during the lift. I felt a sudden load on my right elbow so I couldn’t control it and there were two clicks I heard,” Sargar said at the mixed zone.

“In training, I lift 143kgs. I had to go for it as there was a gold at stake. I am not happy with myself because I have been training for the last four years only for the gold.

“I am a bit happy but mostly feel I could have done better. I did not take the risk to go beyond my national record because completing a lift is important as well.” Someone who was managing a paan shop with his father in Sangli, Maharshtra it indeed is a feat to cherish.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the young athlete.

“Exceptional effort by Sanket Sargar! His bagging the prestigious Silver is a great start for India at the Commonwealth Games. Congratulations to him and best wishes for all future endeavours,” Modi tweeted.

Sargar said he had to take the risk of lifting 139kg as it was a “gold was on offer”.

“Before the last lift, sir (coach Vijay Sharma) asked me whether I wanted to go ahead. He tried to stop me at first but later encouraged me. I lifted more than this in practise.” The lifter he would undergo scans to know the extent of his injury.

“I will go for X-ray after the dope samples were collected and the actual status will be known. Currently I’m in a lot of pain, please let me go fast,” he pleaded at the Indian scribes. “I want to dedicate this medal to all the freedom fighters who didn’t care for their lives and gave us independence,” said Sargar who became the second Commonwealth medalist from Sangli after wrestler Bharti Mane (Bharati Mane).

“Yes people would be happy back home but I’m disappointed of losing out on a gold. Hope to come back stronger,” he added.

The three-time national champion opened up a huge gap by his second lift and virtually sealed it in his third attempt when he equalled his personal best of 113kg.

At the break after the snatch, Sargar held the pole position firmly with a sole lead of six kilograms.

He climbed to the lead spot when he lifted more than doubled his weight (111kg) in his second attempt, as the Malaysian Mohamad Aniq Bin Kasdan fell behind.

But the Indian was only able to execute one lift in the clean and jerk section as he looked in agony after he failed to lift 139kg in his second and third attempts.

The third attempt was worse and did not even last more than one second as he had a brief fall with his right knee, failing to take the load.

In the last edition, Indian lifters brought home a rich haul of nine medals including five golds. This year too they are expected to reign supreme.

Later in the day, P Gururaja (61kg), Olympic silver medallist Mirabai Chanu (49kg) and S Bindyarani Devi (55kg) will vie for the top honours in their respective events.

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