Gururaja Poojary claimed India’s second medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games after winning bronze in a thrilling men’s 61kg weightlifting event in Birmingham on Saturday.
Malaysia’s Aznil Bin Bidin Muhamad won gold with a Commonwealth Games record total of 285kgs (127kgs snatch and 158kgs C&J) while Papua New Guinea’s Morea Baru took silver with 273kgs (121kgs snatch and 152kgs C&J).
The Udupi-based weightlifter fended off Canada’s Youri Simard to claim the final podium place with a personal best total of 269kgs (118kgs snatch and 151kgs C&J). Gururaja had won silver in the men’s 56kg event at the 2018 Gold Coast Games.
After lifting 118kgs with his second snatch attempt, Gururaja looked to lift 120kgs with his third attempt to finish third ahead of Canada Youri Simard in snatch but was unsuccessful. Aznil Bidin, who was the overwhelming favourite for gold, smashed the Games snatch record with a 127kg second lift. He looked to better his personal best of 128kgs with his final attempt of 130kgs but wasn’t successful.
Bidin and Baru went into the clean and jerk event battling for gold while Gururaja and Simard were locked in a face-off for bronze.
Going into the the clean and jerk event, Simard led Gururaja by one kilo and successfully lifted 140kgs with his first attempt to put the Indian under pressure. Gururaja dropped from 145kgs to 144kgs for his first attempt. Simard raised the bar lifting 145kgs with his second attempt but Gururaja responded with a successful 148kgs second lift.
The Canadian, however, was in brilliant form and lifted 149kgs with his final attempt to finish with 268kgs, two kilos ahead of Gururaja who had one attempt to go.
The Indian though came up clutch with a 151kgs lift to secure a second Commonwealth Games medal for himself.