Satish Sivalingam became the first Indian male weightlifter to win two consecutive Commonwealth Games golds in two different editions, when he won the 77 kg category.
Sivalingam, born in the village of Sathuvachari near Vellore, Tamil Nadu, was trained by his father and former weightlifter, Sivalingam initially. Sivalingam, a former Army man and a security officer at the Vellore Institute of Technology, had won medals at the national level but none at the international level.
On winning gold in Glasgow, Satish had exclaimed that he had fulfilled his father’s wishes of winning a medal at an international event.
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Sathish started training at his local gym, Atlas Weightlifting Centre, at the age of 13 and he would later move to the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, for his training before joining the Southern Railways as a clerk.
The weightlifter would join the BA History course in Abdul Hakeem College, Melvishram but would later drop out because he would land a job with the Railways.
The 26-year-old has always been a prolific lifter, winning medals in the junior and senior categories at the state, national and Asian-level games. His lift of 149 kg in the snatch section in 2014 was a new Commonwealth Games record, and he beat Delhi gold medallist and Commonwealth record holder, Kutulu Ravi Kumar.
After the Games, he was awarded Rs 50 lakhs by J Jayalalithaa for his gold medal-winning feat. Sathish also qualified for the Rio Olympics but could only finish 11th there.
Coming into this competition, Sathish said he was carrying an injury and was also the first one to tweet about a lack of physios and masseurs for the weightlifting contingent, leading to the IOA sitting up and taking notice of the lifters’ plight.
“I was in so much pain [then] that even sitting was very painful for me. Everyone took care of me, gave me hope but I was not very confident. I had not trained that hard and my body was not at its best, and so how could I hope for a medal,” added the Tamil Nadu lifter.
Sivalingam added that he was cautious against going for a higher weight in the clean and jerk section, “I didn’t want to touch that level because I still need to undergo rehabilitation. The fact that the access to our physio was limited made it all the more difficult. I just hope that we get a physio with us at the Asian Games.”
“I hope to do even better in the Asian Games because there is a gap now. Earlier Asian Games used to come within 20-25 days of CWG, which didn’t give us enough time to prepare. But this time I have got time to prepare and be fully fit now.”