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- CWG 2018: Punam Yadav gives India fifth weightlifting gold
CWG 2018: Punam Yadav gives India fifth weightlifting gold
Punam Yadav has delivered India its fifth gold of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, beating all competitors in the women’s 69kg event. The lifter from Uttar Pradesh improved upon the bronze medal she won four years ago in Glasgow with a combined effort of 222 (100 in snatch and 122 in clean and jerk) to take India’s overall medal tally at the Gold Coast Games to seven. At the Carrara Sports Club, the 22-year-old Punam lifted 95, 98 and 100 in the snatch, and then 118 and 122 in the clean & jerk to finish on 122.
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Once Canada’s Andreanne Messier finished fourth with a total lift of 211 (95 in snatch, 116 in clean & jerk), all eyes shifted to Punam, Fiji’s Apolonia Vaivai and England’s Sarah Davies. After Vaivai lifted 116, Punam stepped out and lifted 118 to put herself in place for gold; however, a fumble in her second lift left England’s Sarah Davies to attempt 119kg. That she did in stunning manner to push Vaivai down to third place, and a failed attempt meant the Fijian could only settle for bronze.
A sensational final lift took Punam to 222 and gave Davies a target of 128 to claim gold. As soon as the England lifter slipped while trying to complete her lift, the cameras panned to a beaming Punam who became India’s fifth gold medal winner at the .
Davies took silver with a total lift of 217 (95 in snatch, 122 in clean & jerk) and bronze went to Vaivai who finished with 216 (100 in snatch, 116 in clean & jerk).
Born in the village of Chandmari near Varanasi on July 9, 1995, Punam overcame financial difficulties to realise her dream of representing the country with help from her sister and grand uncle. Her elder sister Shashi first encouraged her to take up weightlifting, and her skills were hones at the SAI Centre in Lucknow. In 2013, after she was barred from participating at the junior nationals and asked to appear for a dope test, Punam contemplated giving up weightlifting but her grand uncle dissuaded her from doing so.
Punam subsequently won her first international medal at the Asian Junior Championships in 2004, and a few months later at the 2014 CWG in Glasgow, claimed bronze in the 63kg event. In 2015, Punam bagged gold medals (63kg) in both the senior and junior women’s categories at the Commonwealth Youth, Junior & Senior Championships.