Vikas Thakur on Tuesday won a silver in the men’s 96kg weightlifting at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Thakur had to spend a few anxious minutes at the end to confirm his medal as his closest competitors failed to register a single lift in the clean and jerk.

Thakur’s 346kg total (155kg snatch and 191kg c&j) saw him finish second behind Samoa’s Don Opeloge who went past the game standards in both events for a whopping total lift of 381kg (171kg snatch and 210kg c&j). Fiji’s Taniela Tuisuva Rainbogi took home bronze with a total of 343kg (155kg snatch and 188kg c&j).

The event started with gold medal favourite and Tokyo Olympics fourth-place finisher Boady Santavy pulling out with an injury. That left the field open with England’s Cyrille Tchatchet II, Cyprus’ Antonis Martasidis and Thakur all in contention to take gold.

However, it was the Samoan Opeloge who blew the competition out of the water to take gold. Opeloge had won silver in Gold Coast four years ago when competing in the 85kg event but had been moving up the weight classes ever since and was unlucky to not take part in the Olympics due to COVID-19.

Thakur was third in the event after snatching 155kg with Tchatchet II ahead of him by three kilos and Martasidis behind by five kilos having only registered one lift.

However, Tchatchet II failed in his first two attempts of 185kg in clean and jerk and Thakur increased the pressure by successfully lifting 187kg with his first attempt. The Englishman tried to lift 188kg in a last-ditch attempt but failed.

Thakur then bettered his mark to 191kg and then saw Martasidis fail to lift 191kg and 194kg with his three attempts to also bow out of the medal contention. Having assured himself of silver, Thakur attempted 198kg with his third lift but was unsuccessful.

India are first in the weightlifting medal standings with three gold, three silver and two bronze medals.