CWG 2018 Weightlifting and Wrestling : Gold Rush for Indians in Strength Sports
India have traditionally been strong in Wrestling and Weightlifting. At the Gold Coast Games, India landed a combined 10 Golds, 5 Silvers and 6 Bronze. India finished on top of both events at the Gold Coast Games. The performances of all the athletes raise hopes for a good showing at the Asian Games later this year. Even India's Olympic medal hopes rest on wrestlers and weightlifters but for the moment, let us celebrate the CWG stars from these sports.
Wrestling: Sushil Kumar and Bajrang Punia march their way on to Gold as the Wrestlers make it 12 out of 12.
A sport that saw India sending 12 wrestlers and a conclusion that saw all 12 returning home with a medal. Most notably, India finished on top of the wrestling medals tally with 5 Gold, 3 silver and 4 Bronze medals. The most notable performances came from TOPS athlete Bajrang Punia, who won Gold in the 65kg category by technical superiority in under 90 seconds. Olympic double medalist Sushil Kumar showed why he still is the very best in the business as he took about 80 seconds to hammer South African Johannes Botha claiming Gold in the 74kg Freestyle category. Also grinding out hard-fought Golds were Vinesh Phogat (50kg category), Rahul Aware (57kg) and Sumit in the Freestyle 125kg category.
Babita Phogat, Mausam Khatri and Pooja Dhanda win silver medals
Babita Phogat lost a tactical final to Canadian Diana Wiecker in the 53kg. Diana had more upper body strength though Babita was the quicker of the two. Some smart tactics ensured that the Indian wrestler could not get points eventually having to settle for silver.
Pooja Dhanda was no match for the seasoned Nigerian opponent and defending Commonwealth Games champion Odunayo Adekuroye, picking up silver in the 57kg category. Mausam Khatri too was edged out by South African Martin Erasmus in the 97kg category. Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik too made her presence felt with a bronze in the 62kg category. The wrestlers returned home with 5 Golds, 3 Silvers and 4 Bronze medals.
Weightlifting: Young weightlifters Deepak Lather and Mirabai Chanu impress heavily.
The sport that proves to be the reason for the National Anthem to be played for the first time at Gold Coast was Weightlifting. Mirabai Chanu landed India’s first Gold medal at the Games on April 5 lifting a Games Record and Commonwealth Record total of 196kgs in the 48kg weight category. India saw 16 Weightlifters boarding the flight for Gold Coast. National Coach Vijay Sharma did not disappoint either, picking up the top spot at the Weightlifting medals tally for India, with a combined 9 medals (5 Golds, 2 Silvers, 2 Bronze).
Sanjitha Chanu (53kg) successfully defended her Glasgow Games Gold medal setting a new Games Record of 192kgs improving from her lift of 173kgs she lifted 4 years ago. The lifters who also added to the tally of Gold medals for India were Sathish Sivalingam (77kg), Venkata Rahul Ragala (85kg) and Punam Yadav (69kg). Other athletes who showed great promise and earned Silver were Pardeep Singh (105kg) and Gururaja (56kg).
Promise for the future: Deepak Lather
The Bronze medalists in weightlifting were Vikas Thakur (94kg) and 18-year-old Deepak Lather (69kg). However, Deepak Lather on his Commonwealth debut impressed heavily. The Samoan wrestler helped his quest for a podium finish as he tried lifting an improbably 175kg in the clean and jerk. This lift would get him the Gold beating Welshman Gareth Evans who was in the lead. The Samoan crumbled and Lather held his nerve lifting a combined 295kgs which was 3 more than the Samoan which landed him the third position. Overall, the credit should go to the national coach Vijay Sharma for his incredible performance.
With the inspired performance from the weightlifters and wrestlers, India will hope that this dream run continues into the Asian Games later this year and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.