Khelo India Games: Soumya Dalvi defends weightlifting title

Soumya caught everyone's attention by claiming the Khelo India youth gold medal in girls' 40kg in Pune last year with a total of 113kg.

Soumya Dalvi of Maharashtra shows her gold medal at the Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati on Thursday.   -  RITU RAJ KONWAR

 

Fourteen-year-old Soumya Dalvi tasted many flavours before settling for her father Sunil's passion — weightlifting. The teenager learnt music, dance and tried her luck in athletics before finding her calling in lifting weights.

The tiny Thane lifter, who began weightlifting about two years ago, quickly found her feet in the sport and started winning medals. She caught everyone's attention by claiming the Khelo India youth gold medal in girls' 40kg in Pune last year with a total of 113kg.

On Thursday, she defended her title in style by improving three kgs and creating a new (yet-to-be ratified) mark.

Interestingly, like previous year, Soumya got a stiff competition from her state mate Aarati Tatgunti, who again settled for the silver medal with 115kg.

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The lead-up to the competition was tougher this year for Soumya. “Last year I reduced two kgs, but this year I had to cut down four kgs. It was very difficult. I was overweight by 700gms close to the weighing in. I was so desperate that I did not eat and drink for nearly two days, did sauna bath and tried crying to reduce weight,” Soumya told Sportstar.

“I did singing, dancing and athletics before my father, who was a National-level gold medal winning lifter and a Chhatrapati award winner, asked me to do some exercise at our home gym. Slowly, he got involved and I started training,” said Soumya, who took gold medals in Khelo India, National Youth Championships and Commonwealth Youth Championships in the last one year.

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Now, Soumya, a Class IX student, wants to continue her gold-medal winning streak and shine at the Asian youth championships in Uzbekistan next month.