Harshada Garud became the first Indian to win a gold medal in the World junior weightlifting championships at Heraklion, Greece, on Monday.
Harshada rode on her snatch performance (70kg) to lift a total of 153kg and beat her nearest rival Turkey’s Bektas Cansu by three kg in the women's 45kg weight class. Moldova’s Hincu Teodora-Luminita (149kg) took third place.
The 18-year-old Pune girl, who had earlier won the Khelo India Youth Games crown and the Asian championships bronze medal with an identical total of 139kg in 2020, posted snatch performances of 64kg, 67kg and 70kg to push Spain’s Marta Garcia (68kg) to the second place.
Harshada also lifted successfully in all her three clean and jerk attempts to record 83kg, two kg less than Bektas (who had registered 65kg in snatch), to claim the second place. However, she still managed to clinch the historic gold medal.
"I was not well till December. My improvement happened after I joined the National camp. All credit to the coaches, Indian Weightlifting Federation, other support staff and my family for their backing," said Harshada.
Another Indian in fray, Anjali Patel (snatch 67kg, clean and jerk 81kg) tied with Indonesian Najla Khoirunnisa on an aggregate of 148kg and ended up at the fifth place. Both of them were one kg away from the third placed Hincu.
Later, two more Indian lifters landed medals as the country recorded its best ever showing in the World junior weightlifting championships.
Gyaneshwari Devi and V. Rithika claimed the silver and bronze medals in the women’s 49kg weight category late on Monday night. Gyaneshwari did a total of 156kg (including 73kg in snatch and 83kg in clean and jerk), while Rithika achieved 150kg (69kg, 81kg).
The gold medal went to Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Windy Aisah of Indonesia. She aggregated 185kg (83kg, 102kg).
Before this, Mirabai Chanu (women’s 48kg, bronze, 2013, Lima), Jhilli Dalabehera (women’s 48kg, bronze, 2018, Tashkent) and Achita Sheuli (men’s 73kg, silver, 2021, Tashkent) achieved podium finishes in the event.
Shrabani Das (women’s 55kg) and T. Madhavan and Muna Nayak (men’s 61) will be seen in action on Tuesday.