Weightlifting gold rush continues, Punam claims fifth for India

Punam Yadav clinched gold with a total lift of 222kg, finishing above England's Sarah Davies.

Punam Yadav (center) bagged India's fifth weightlifting gold medal at Commonwealth Games 2018.   -  AP

The move to a higher weight category has done a world of good for Punam Yadav, the proof of which was evident at the Carrara sports arena 1 here on Sunday, as the Varanasi girl kept her cool to claim the women’s 69kg gold medal of the XXI Commonwealth Games.

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Going out to Glasgow four years ago, Punam was in the 63kg category and had won the bronze medal over there before switching to over to her new class, marking a successful changeover by finishing ninth in the last year’s World championships and second in the Commonwealth Championships.

The confidence that this 22-year-old has gained was typically evident as she attacked the bar with felicity and panache this morning. She was challenged by Fijian Apolonia Vaival through the first stage of the competition as both completed the snatch with an identical total of 100kg. But into the clean and jerk, the Indian was fully in control going in for an opening attempt of 118kg and then moving the bar up to 122kg. The Indian was clear this weight straight away, but was successful in third which gave a winning total of 222.

Vaival failing in her opening weight of 115 did pull her back and England’s Sarah Davies utilised well this opportunity to sneak through and bag the silver with 217kg. The Fiji lifter was third just one kilogramme behind.