Lifters' gold rush continues

Punam claims fifth yellow metal for India; Vikas claims silver in 94kg category

Lifters' gold rush continues

The gold rush continued in weightlifting for India as Punam Yadav added a fifth to the tally with a top finish in the 69kg category of the 21st Commonwealth Games here on Sunday.

Punam, a bronze-medallist in the 63kg category at the 2014 Glasgow edition, lifted a personal best of 222kg (110kg+122kg) to claim the top spot ahead of England's Sarah Davies, who finished with 217kg (95kg+122kg).

Davies went for a 128kg lift in her final clean and jerk attempt in pursuit of gold but could not complete her attempt.

The bronze medal was won by Fiji's Apolonia Vaivai with an effort of 216kg (100kg+116kg).

Vikas Thakur added a shade of bronze, claiming the third position in the 94kg category by equalling his personal best.

Vikas lifted a total of 351kg (159kg+192kg) on a day when Papua New Guinea's Steven Kari broke the Commonwealth as well as the Games' record in clean and jerk for a total lift of 370kg (154kg+216kg).

"I was expecting a good fight but from Fiji not England. I was a little nervous when Sarah went for 128kg in her final lift. She was capable of pulling it off," Punam said after the medal ceremony.

"But then it's all about fate, I got what was my destiny and she got what was her destiny. Thankfully our physio was allowed inside for sometime for strapping my knee, I have slight pain there," she added.

Punam, a native of Uttar Pradesh, had claimed a silver at last year's Commonwealth Championships, her first event after making the jump from 63kg to 69kg category.

"I came to India camp in 2014 after taking up weightlifting on the insistence of my elder sister. She got me into it," she said when asked about her initiation into the sport.

The 22-year-old, who finds it tough to even remember her own phone number, was quite candid about her family, which she says, is financially stable now after her 2014 Glasgow medal.

"My father took a loan at that time to support my training but now we repaid that after my medal. He doesn't do anything apart from pooja paath at home, my mother is a housewife. Me and my sister, we run the finances of our house.

"We are a normal financially stable family. We were not that great some years ago but we are alright now. I am working with the Indian Railways now," she added proudly.

Earlier, Mirabai Chanu (48kg), Sanjita Chanu (53kg), Sathish Sivalingam (77kg) and Venkat Rahul Ragala (85kg) had claimed gold medals in the ongoing edition.

Vikas faltered in his final two attempts in clean and jerk, aiming for a 200kg lift that would have fetched him a silver. The final attempt was especially messed up as he struggled to keep up with the one-minute he had to complete the lift.

The silver went to Canada's Boady Santavy, who lifted 369kg (168kg+201kg). His snatch effort was a new Games record.

For Vikas, the medal was a climbdown from the 2014 edition where he had claimed a silver with a lift of 333kg, in the 85kg category.

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