Harjinder Kaur on Monday bagged a bronze medal in the women’s 71kg weightlifting in dramatic fashion at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Kaur looked destined to finish fourth in the event but with Nigeria’s Joy Eze failing with all three of her clean and jerk attempts, Kaur came away with an unexpected bronze.
The 25-year-old lifted 93kg in snatch and 119kg in clean and jerk for a total of 212kg to win bronze behind England’s Sarah Davies (229kg – 103kg snatch and 126kg c&j) and Canada’s Alexis Ashworth (214kg – 91kg snatch and 123kg c&j).
Davies and Nigeria’s Eze were predicted to face off for gold with bronze likely to be won by one of Harjinder, Ashworth or Australia’s Kiana Elliott.
But things turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster.
In the clean and jerk, Elliott was the first to bow out of medal contention lifting a best of 110kg. That led to an incredible battle for bronze between Ashworth and Harjinder. Or so we thought.
Ashworth began with a 112kg lift and Harjinder responded with a 113kg lift. The Canadian came back with a 116kg lift and the Indian responded with a similar lift to take a two kilo lead.
The Indian then quickly came out for her third attempt and lifted 119kg to extend her lead to five kilos. Ashworth needed a whopping 123kg to leapfrog Harjinder to bronze and the Canadian did just that.
Harjinder looked destined to leave Birmingham without a medal only for Joy Eze to stunningly crumble under pressure. Challenging Davies for gold, Eze astonishingly failed with all three of her attempts to lift 125kg. The attempts were not exactly close either and she broke down in despair at the end as the camera cut to a smiling Harjinder. Davies herself struggled with 126kg but did enough to clinch gold as Ashworth claimed silver and Harjinder, an unexpected bronze.
Harjinder’s bronze is India’s seventh medal in weightlifting at Birmingham. Mirabai Chanu, Jeremy Lalrinnunga and Achinta Sheuli won gold for India. Sanket Sargar and Bindyarani Devi clinched silver while Gururaja Poojary won bronze. On Monday, India also won two Judo medals.
India are top of the weightlifting medal standings with England in second place with four medals.