GLASGOW (TIP): India ran away with opening day honours in the weightlifting competition of the 20th Commonwealth Games with Sukhen Dey and K Sanjita Chanu winning the gold medal in their respective events. The Indian team bagged four out of six medals on offer on Day one of the competition on Thursday.
Sanjita and Saikhom Mirabai Chanu opened India’s campaign on a flying note by winning a gold and silver respectively in women’s 48kg before Dey and Ganesh Mali bagged with first and third position in men’s 56kg to cap a remarkable day for the Indians at the Clyde Auditorium.
The 25-year-old Dey lifted a total of 248kg (109+139) after trailing at the halfway snatch stage, but came back strongly in clean and jerk to win the gold. He had also won a silver in the 2010 Delhi CWG besides bagging a gold in the 2013 Commonwealth Championships in November last year. 21-year-old Mali was leading after snatch but slipped behind in clean and jerk to settle for bronze with a total lift of 244kg (111+133).
Malaysia’s Mohd Pisol Zulheimi was at fourth after snatch but recovered in fine fashion to bag the silver with a total lift of 245kg (108+137). Zulheimi and another Malaysian, Mohd Faizal Baharom, gave a tough competition to Dey and Mali from the beginning but the Indians had the support in their side with a seizable crowd rooting for them with the tricolour in their hands. Baharom set the ball rolling with a lift of 110kg in snatch and Dey failed to clear 111kg after lifting 109kg in his earlier attempt.
Mali, however, did better than his compatriot to lift 111kg and occupy the top slot with Baharom on second with 110kg and Dey on 109kg at third after snatch event. Mali’s effort of 133kg in his second attempt in clean and jerk was adjudged no-lift by the jury, but he cleared the weight in his next attempt. Dey jumped to the top spot with a lift of 136kg but Zulmeihi came into the mix with a clean and jerk of 136kg to jump to joint second.
He then lifted 137kg to equal Dey at the top, leaving Mali at third. Dey then went ahead by lifting 138kg and pumped in the air with delight after totalling 248kg. He tried 146kg in an attempt to break the Commonwealth Games record in clean and jerk but failed. Nonetheless, he ran away with the title. Dey said his gold medal win was the best achievement of his career. “I have won a bronze in junior World Championships, then a silver in 2010 CWG before today’s gold. I lost out on a gold in Delhi because of a technical mistake. I would say today’s gold is the best of my career.
Now my target is to do well in the Asian Games,” Dey said. “I would like to dedicate my win to the nation, the federation officials and my coaches. The exposure we got before the Games has been of immense help.We have had a training camp in Birmingham since June and that has helped a lot,” he said. He conceded that he was “worried after missing two snatch attempts”. Dey, who is now a subedar naik at the Indian Air Force in Chandigarh, hoped that he would get promotion after this feat.
“I hope to get promoted after my gold medal,” he said. Mali, on the other hand, said that the no-lift decision during his clean and jerk had led to a bit of distraction. “I cannot do anything about that decision but the no-lift had distracted a bit. Had it not been that way I would have won the silver,” he rued. Mali, with the Indian Air Force in Chandigarh, also hoped that his performance would get him a promotion. “I am in the Indian Air Force and winning the medal means I will be getting a promotion. The medal has really lifted my heart,” he said.
On the crowd at the Clyde Auditorium, he said, “I have been really impressed with the crowd, but when they are cheering while we are lifting it can be off-putting.” On training in a small village with his brother Chandrakant Mali, who will take part in the 94kg category, he said, “My brother and I have had only one barbell between us for six years. It’ll be a big deal taking home the bronze medal.