As the 2018 Commonwealth Games got underway at an unearthly hour for the Indian fans, a weightlifter from the rural Karnataka made the nation proud, winning India's first medal -- silver -- in gold Coast.
It was not an easy task for Gururaja by any means, he lifted a total of 249 kgs, a personal best for the 25-year-old in the 56kg category. His first lift of 111 kgs was a clean lift, as he surged into the lead, giving him a great chance of winning the top prize at the event.
However, he went for a 138 kg lift int he second lift, something that he struggled with initially. Gururaja failed to lift the 138 kg in his first attempt, while his second attempt was cancelled by the judges. In the end, Gururaja managed to complete the lift in his third attempt, something that helped him clinch the silver medal.
It was a bit of a historic moment for the Indian contingent, Gururaja became the first Indian to win a medal at the Gold Coast Games this year. On that note, let's take a look at five interesting facts about India's first medallist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
#1 Son of a pickup truck driver: Gururaja hails from a humble family, who reside in the Kundapur valley, in the Udupi district of Karnataka. His father was a man of little means, as he owned a pickup truck that helped him earn a meagre living for a family that consisted of as many as eight members.
#2 Road accident took away father's livelihood: Although his father himself was not involved in the accident, it was his assistant, who crashed the truck on a dangerous highway near their hometown. This was the only truck that his father owned, and this accident took away the only source of income for the family, in 2010.
#3 When Gururaja contemplated leaving the sport: The accident left his family without a source of income, and Gururaja, at this point was contemplating leaving the sport. However, his father convinced him to continue with weightlifting, saying that he will sell his house in order to fund Gururaja.
#4 Powerlifting medals got him back on track: It was at this point that Gururaja met two powerlifters, who inspired him to continue training. He improved himself to a point that he even brought back medals from various competitions. However, his coach was least impressed by these medals and challenged him to do the same in weightlifting.
#5 The ultimate dream: While his family was steeped in poverty, Gururaja believed that a Commonwealth Games medal will help him drag his family out of the dire situation. Now that he has won silver at the Commonwealth Games Gururaja is all set to fulfil his childhood dream -- buying tumbledown truck -- not for his father, but for himself.Published 05 Apr 2018, 08:50 IST