A high quality fare

G. NARASIMHA RAO

Pujari Sailaja of Andhra Pradesh set seven National and seven meet records in the 75 kg category. She lifted 132.5 kg, a weight no Indian woman lifter had cleared till then.-K.R. DEEPAK

The weightlifting competition was one of the major events of the 32nd National Games and Vizagites were lucky that it was held in the city.

The expectations of witnessing a high quality fare were not belied and the spectators who filled to the capacity in the Kalavani Auditorium in Nehru Place, the Visakhapatnam Port's Sports and Cultural Centre, on all the six days of the meet, were thrilled to see records falling at regular intervals.

They were treated to a stupendous show by Pujari Sailaja of Andhra Pradesh who left the podium with seven National and seven meet records in the 75 kg category. She lifted 132.5 kg, a weight no Indian woman lifter had cleared till then.

Thus the locals put behind the disappointment of not able to witness the Olympian medallist, Karanam Malleswari, in action. Malleswari, against whose name are all the National records stood in the 63 kg and 69 kg, was reportedly in a fix — whether to represent Andhra Pradesh, her home State, or Haryana, her in-laws' State where she is residing now. Meanwhile came the call from her foreign coach to start her preparations for her cherished goal of securing a gold medal in the next Olympics, and she left the country for training.

Punjab was way ahead of others in the men's section, winning four gold and one bronze medals and also topped the overall position (though the team standings are not officially declared) thanks to its women lifters grabbing two golds and a bronze.

Andhra Pradesh, expected to top again in the women's section, suffered early setbacks. The competition opened with an upset. Sanamacha Chanu of Manipur failed in all her attempts in clean and jerk of 48 kg category. She was not only out of competition but also lost her 102.5 kg meet record, when the ultimate gold medal winner Sandhya Rani of Karnataka cleared 105 kg. Back pain prevented N. Kunjarani Devi, the weightlifter with more than four dozens of international medals, from going allout. She had to settle for silver being heavier than Sandhya in body weight and Tikina Gopal of Orissa made an admirable comeback after a back injury to clinch the bronze, also on body weight, pipping AP's Krishnaveni.

Belarani of Delhi, who looked set to clinch the gold after Lakshmi's fiasco, faced the same fate of AP lifter in the clean and jerk part of the competition. Nanshita Devi of Manipur clinched the gold in this category.

The overall high quality show by the lifters at the National Games competition was significant since the doping tests were conducted in a strict manner.

Five of the seven weight categories in the women's section, and seven out of eight categories in the men's section saw one or more records being set.

On the second day, Vicky Batta of Punjab rewrote T. Muthu's snatch record in the 56 kg category, to open the men's competition while W. Nandini Devi of Manipur retained the 53 kg women's gold.

But the first event of the third day, 58 kg category, saw Sunaina of Punjab creating all three records, improving on her clean and jerk mark and Orissa lifter Prasmita Mangraj's snatch and total records. Prasmita settled for silver though she also equalled Sunaina's new mark in clean and jerk.

The same day, gold medal winner Chitradurga Prasad of Services set new records in snatch and total and teammate Vadivelu Govindu improved his clean and jerk record in 69 kg category.

The next day saw P. Harita of Andhra Pradesh sending all the records in the 63 kg category tumbling. The old records in snatch and total were in the name of Pratima Kumari of Haryana and the clean and jerk in Harita's name. However, the Haryana lifter was unfortunate to lose all her attempts in the jerk and was eliminated from the competition. It was interesting to note that L. Monika Devi of Manipur and K. Ramadevi of AP, the eventual silver and bronze medal winners, also reached the new mark of 95 kg in snatch.

The day before Sailaja sent the records reeling. Sukhjinder Singh of Punjab reached the Indian standard, by lifting 190 kg in clean and jerk and with a total of 330 kg created a new meet record.

Immediately after Sailaja, it was the turn of Geeta Rani of Punjab to create another new National record. In the absence of Bharti Singh, the international who holds all the National and National Games records in the plus 75 kg category, Geeta Rani first improved the meet record in clean and jerk by 2.5 kg by lifting 125 kg and with her second attempt erased the National record of 127.5 kg, by 2.5 kg. The second attempt also improved the total meet record by 2.5 kg. Her attempts in the snatch earlier, to atleast equal the Game record of 100 kg if not the National record of 105 kg, were not successful.

Sateesh Raj represented AP in this meet. The Karnataka lifter faced a six-month ban for using a stimulant during the Asian Games and was allowed to participate in the domestic meets. In this background, the former Karnataka lifter's record in jerk in the 77 kg and equalling the total record were satisfying for him, though S. Srinivasan of Tamil Nadu snatched the snatch record from him.

Tejinder Singh of Punjab improved meet records in snatch (his own) and total in the 85 kg category and also equalled his own National record in snatch. K. S. Muthu of Tamil Nadu created a new clean and jerk record in 105 kg and fell short of the total record by 2.5 kg.

Dalbir Singh, in plus 105 kg category, was the last of the prominent lifters on the podium, but he did not try to improve his own meet or National records and settled for the gold, which he won with consummate ease.

The results:

Men: 56 kg: 1. Vicky Batta (Punjab, 115 (NMR), 130 and total 245), 2. V. Srinivasa Rao (AP), 3. V. Murugan (SSCB). (NMR 115 kg in snatch, old record 112.5 kg by T. Muthu of TN in 1999).

62 kg: 1. S. Ramachandran (Maharashtra, 117.5, 140 and 257.5 kg), 2. D. Wilson (SSCB), 3. N. Tirumurugan (SSCB). Wilson and Tirumurugan completed with a total of 250 kg each and the silver medal was decided on body weight.

69 kg: 1. Chitra Durga Prasad (SSCB, 135, 162.5 and 297.5 kg), 2. Vadivelu Govindan (SSCB), 3. Gurucharan Singh (Punjab).

77 kg: 1. Sateesh Rai (AP, 135, 175 NMR and 310 kg EMR), 2. S. Srinivasan (TN, 140 NMR, 167.5 and 307.5), 3. A. Md. Zaheer (MP). (Old meet records: snatch 137.5 kg, clean jerk 172.5 kg and total 310 kg, all by Sateesh Rai in 2001).

85 kg: 1. Tejinder Singh (Punjab, 150 NMR, 175 and 325 kg NMR), 2. Senthil Kumar (TN), 3. Sandeep Maindan (Karnataka). (Old records: Snatch 147.5 kg by Tejinder Singh in 2001, total 317.5 kg by Paramjit Sharma of Services in 1999).

94 kg: 1. Sukhjinder Singh (Punjab, 140, 190 NMR and 330 kg NMR), 2. Santosh Kumar (MP), 3. Edmond Jacindran (TN). (Old records clean and jerk 177.5 kg and total 320 kg, by Sukhjinder Singh in 1999 Manipur).

105 kg: 1. K. S. Muthu (TN, 140, 187.5 MNR and 327.5 kg), 2. Gurpreet Singh (Chandigarh 145 ER, 180 and 325 kg), 3. Manjeet Singh (Chandigarh, 145 ER, 177.5, 322.5). (Old record in clean and jerk 185 kg by Gurminder Singh in 2001 Patiala, snatch record 145 kg by Vipin Kumar of Haryana in 1999 Manipur).

Plus 105 kg: 1. Dalbir Singh (Punjab, 160, 195 and 355 kg), 2. S. Kishore Kumar (AP), 3. Vipin Kumar (Haryana).

Women: 48 kg: 1. A. Sandhya Rani (Karnataka, 75, 105 and total 180 kg), 2. N. Kunjarani Devi (Manipur), 3. Tikina Gopal (Orissa), Gold medal decided on body weight. New meet record in clean and jerk, old 102.5 kg by Kunjarani Devi in 1999 National Games).

53 kg: 1. Nandini Devi (Manipur, 82.5, 107.5 and 190 kg), 2. Anita Kumari (Jharkhand), 3. Chandra Shouri Devi (Haryana).

58 kg: 1. Sunaina (Punjab snatch 90, clean and jerk 112.5 and total 202.5 kg all NMRs), 2. Prasmita Mangaraj (Orissa, 87.5, 112.5 and 200 kg), 3. K. Krishnakumari (AP). (Old records 87.5 by Prasmita, 110 by Sunaina and 197.5 by Prasmita, all during 2001 NG, Patiala).

63 kg: 1. P. Haritha (AP, 95, 117.5 and 212.5 kg all NMRs), 2. L. Monika Devi (Manipur), 3. K. Ramadevi (AP). Old records: 92.5 kg by Pratima Devi, 115 kg by Haritha and 207.5 kg by Pratima, all in 2001. Monika Devi and Pratima also set new records with 95 kg in snatch.

69 kg: 1. Sh. Nanshita Devi (Manipur, 92.5, 117.5 and 210 kg), 2. Janeshwari Devi (Karnataka), 3. Sonia Prabha (Punjab).

75 kg: 1. P. Sailaja (AP, 102.5, 132.5 and 235 kg (NMRs and NRs, Meet records 95, 130 and 225 set by Sailaja in 2001 at Patiala, National records 100 kg by Ujwala Mane of Maharashtra in 1999 at Bangalore, 132.5 kg in jerk by Sailaja in Manchester in 2002 and 225 kg by Sailaja at Patiala in 2001), 2. Sumati Devi (Manipur), 3. Ujwala Mane (Maharashtra).

Plus 75 kg: 1. Gita Rani (Punjab, 95, 130 NMR and NR, and 225 kg NMR) (old meet record in clean and jerk 122.5 kg by Bharti Singh in 2001 and old NR 127.5 kg also by Bharti Singh in March, total record 222.5 kg by Bharti Singh in 2001 Patiala Games), 2. Simple Bumrah (Maha), 3. Romi Devi (Haryana).