Commonwealth Games 2022: Gururaja Poojary wins weightlifting bronze, India gets second medal

Gururaja Poojary won India’s second medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in men’s 61 kg weightlifting.

Gururaja Poojary won the bronze medal in the men’s 61 kg weightlifting event.

Gururaja Poojary won the bronze medal in the men’s 61 kg weightlifting event. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Gururaja Poojary won India’s second medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in men’s 61 kg weightlifting.

Gururaja Poojary braved a bout of sickness and pain in his knee and wrists to bring home his second Commonwealth Games medal.

“I was not at my best until 10 days ago. I started training last week and gave my best today,” the Karnataka weightlifter said after clinching the bronze medal in the 61kg weight class on Saturday.

He had a combined total of 269kg (snatch — 118kg; clean and jerk — 151kg) in Birmingham. Poojary had won silver in the 56kg class in Gold Coast, Australia, four years ago. He is not unhappy, though. For him, this win is more special given how "difficult" it has been after moving up in weight class.

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“I'm completely satisfied with my performance. The 61kg class, an Olympic category, is tough to master. In fact, the other winners are Olympic veterans. I lifted 119kg (snatch) and 152kg (clean and jerk) in training.”

Even if he had replicated his best training lifts, they would not have been enough to change his medal placing.

Malaysia’s Muhammad Aznil bin Bidin scripted history, registering Games Records in both the snatch (127kg) and the clean and jerk (158kg) to take the gold medal. Papua New Guinea’s Morea Baru finished second with a combined effort of 273kg (snatch — 121kg; clean and jerk — 152kg).

Poojary edged Youri Simard of Canada by 1kg in the total with a gutsy last clean and jerk lift. “Yes, it was tense,” said Poojary. “Coach Vijay (Sharma) sir motivated me, saying, ‘You have trained for this all your life. You left your home. A medal is bound to come.’”

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