Indian lifters continue golden run at Gold Coast

Sathish Sivalingam and Venkat Rahul Ragala led India into a joyous double strike, winning the men’s 77kg and 85kg weightlifting gold medals on Saturday.

Sathish Sivalingam on the podium after clinching weightlifting gold medal in 77kg category.   -  PTI

Two young men – Sathish Kumar Sivalingam and Venkat Rahul Ragala led India into a joyous double strike, winning the men’s 77kg and 85kg weightlifting titles of the XXI Commonwealth Games at the Carrara sports arena 1 here on Saturday.

Already as a heavyweight in Commonwealth weightlifting, it helped the country’s gold medal count to four and a total of six as count has to be made on the silver and bronze medals won by P. Gururaj (56kg) and Deepak Lather (69kg) besides the two gold medals delivered by Mirabai Chanu and Sanjita Chanu over the last two days.

As expected, the expectations were high as the third day’s action got underway and as Sathish and Venkat shaped up nicely to get to the top of podium, the only disappointment was Vandna Gupta (women’s 63kg) who was forced to be satisfied with the fifth spot. The 23-year-old Lucknow girl had been placed fourth in the last Games.

Commonwealth Games, Day 3: Key highlights

In the men’s 77kg category, Sathish faced little problem before stamping his class. The 25-year-old hailing from Vellore and employed with the Southern Railway in Chennai had met with an injury a couple of months ago and with doubts persisting about its possible recurrence, his preparations were on a low key. But into the competition, Sathish gave a good account of himself as he got into the lead with a lift of 144 kg in snatch, improving it to 136kg and 140kg, before retaining the gold medal with a clean and jerk, which weighed 173kg and a total of 317kg. He was five kilogram clear of Jack Oliver (England) who finished second, while, Francois Etounde (Australia) claimed the bronze.

Sathish had snatched 149kg and 179kg in clean and jerk for a total of 328 for his maiden Commonwealth gold medal in Glasgow 2014, but was unable to improve upon that performance and it was quite understandable as he himself pointed out the reason before dedicating the medal to this parents. “They are greatest source of the motivation I have to pursue this sport seriously,” he said.

Venkat, 21, was tied with Don Opeloge (Samoa) with 151kg at the end of the first stage (snatch) of the competition, but as the latter faltered in the clean and jerk, it made things easier for the lifter from Stuartpuram, Andhra Pradesh. He was also helped by the good tactical thinking of the Indian coach, who kept the rivals of his ward guessing in the second stage. Venkat who started with 147kg in snatch could only manage an improvement of four kilograms as he failed in his second attempt. In clean and jerk, he started off with 182kg and getting this right also helped him to the lead. He just stayed that way with another good lift of 187kg which put a lot of pressure on his Samoa rival, who wilted.

The results:

Men: 77kg: 1. Sathish Kumar Sivalingam (Ind), 144+173: 317, 2. Jack Oliver (Eng), 145+167: 312, 3. Francois Etounde (Aus), 136+169: 305.

85kg: 1. Venkat Rahul Ragala (Ind), 151+187: 338, 2. Don Opeloge (Sam), 151+180: 331, 3. Muhamad Mohdad (Mas), 145+183: 328.