Like most sports in India, weightlifting too suffers because of the autocratic position cricket enjoys. The lack of money and support in the sport hampers the morale of the sports persons. Weightlifting in India has a rather poor story, in spite of numerous medals and an immensely talented pool of contenders.
The recent awakening of Indian Premier League style tournaments in various sports in India is yet to reach Weightlifting. Thus, the attention and the credit the sport deserves goes completely unnoticed among Indian audiences.
Perhaps it is time for us to know what the country’s players have achieved in weightlifting:
Karnam Malleswari: Pioneer for India’s Weightlifting
Karnam Malleswari should be a household name. Sadly, it isn’t so. And that is one of the most disappointing things.
She has achieved a lot in the national and the international level for herself and more importantly for the country. Her work in the development of the sport and bringing it to the forefront has not gone unnoticed. Malleswari has been a recipient of the Arjuna award in 1994, followed by the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1995, and the prestigious Padma Shri in 1999.
Malleswari is the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in the sport of Weightlifting. A feat she achieved during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Her achievements don’t end with just that. She is also the first Indian to achieve an Asian Games medal in 1998. She is also credited with winning three bronze medals at the world championships.
India has a host of players who have won medals at the Commonwealth Games in the sport of Weightlifting. And most of these podium finishes have come fairly recently. The 2014 Glasgow Games, especially, proved to be very productive for the Indian contingent, during which the weightlifting team achieved a total of 14 medals, including three gold medals.
The three golds came through Satish Sivalingam, Khumukcham Sangita Chanu and Sukhen Dey. Sukhen Dey is also credited with having bagged a silver during the 2010 Games in Delhi.
Young Weightlifters Ensure a Bright Future
The Indian medallists at the Commonwealth Games are fairly young achievers, between the ages of 21-26. These sports persons can inspire a generation of youngsters to take-up the sport and continue in their foot-steps.
With at least another few Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games up their sleeve in the coming years,the people of India can be hopeful for much more success in the sport. A little cheering for the team in next year’s Olympics might just make the day for these hard-workers.