Who is P Gururaja? Weightlifter who bagged India’s first Commonwealth Games 2018 medal wanted to be a wrestler

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New Delhi | Published: April 5, 2018 10:48:16 AM

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.

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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). So, who is P Gururaj, the man who made India proud at the Commonwealth Games 2018?

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.

The 25-year-old comes from a small village in Karnataka and the moment of glory at Commonwealth Games didn’t come easy for him. “When I started in 2010, in the first month of my training, I was so frustrated because I didn’t even know how to lift a bar. It was too heavy for me,” he said after the win.

Gururaj was inspired by Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar and wanted to take up the sport but his coach taught him how to weightlift.

“I remember I had seen Sushil Kumar wrestle in the 2010 CWG, I was just starting weightlifting at that time. When I saw him I really wanted to take up wrestling. Then I met my coach Rajendra Prasad who taught me weightlifting,” he added.

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