Commonwealth Games 2018: Stones and bricks pelted at gold medallist Punam Yadav in Varanasi
What's the story?
On Saturday, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Punam Yadav was attacked by unidentified assailants in Rohania area, Mungwar village in Varanasi during a visit to her relatives' place. As per police reports, bricks and stones were pelted at the weightlifter when she tried to stop two groups from fighting.
In case you didn't know...
Punam improved on her bronze-winning Glasgow performance in Gold Coast, lifting 222 kg, with a 100 kg in the snatch, followed by a 122 kg in the clean and jerk on her way to gold in Women's 69-kg category.
Last year, at the World Championships in Anaheim, she finished 9th after lifting a total of 218 kg. Previously, she had won the gold medal in 2015 and the silver in 2017 at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships.
The heart of the matter
According to the police, Punam tried to intervene an ongoing brawl between two groups in a bid to separate them. The brawl had emanated from an old land dispute between a relative of Punam and a neighbouring village head.
However, although Punam was only trying to stop the fight, she had to face the angst of the locals. When her father and sister tried to protect her, they too were beaten up. In the end, though, they managed to call the police and escape the scene.
After that, police force was deployed to ensure that there was no escalation of hostilities.
The investigation is ongoing and the SP (rural) Amit Kumar promised that no guilty person would be spared in this episode.
Weightlifting, as it is, is one of lesser popular sports in the country. Despite the rich medal haul, it still goes under the shadow of some of the other multi-sport disciplines. In such a scenario, weightlifters, even Commonwealth Games gold-winning ones, remain largely unknown to the general public. That in itself is a cause for worry.
Apart from that, that a sportsperson, who has not only represented the country at international events but also brought back several laurels, had to face such an attack is alarming.