Gold Coast, April 7: Nowhere close to complete fitness and without a full-time physio to care for their niggles, Indian weightlifters remained leaps ahead of their Commonwealth Games competitors, taking their gold medal tally to four through Sathish Sivalingam (77kg) and Venkat Rahul Ragala (85kg) here on Saturday (April 7). After Mirabai Chanu (48kg) and Sanjita Chanu (53kg), Sathish and Rahul continued India's gold-collecting spree at the Games.
The yellow metal count is already one more than the previous 2014 edition with two more days of competition left. Add to this, P Gururaja (56kg) and Deepak Lather's (69kg) silver and bronze respectively and it is turning out to be quite a performance.
On Saturday, Sathish, the defending champion, and Rahul overcame the pain barrier posed by their respective unhealed thigh and knee injuries to claim gold medals. The 25-year-old Sathish lifted a total of 317kg (114kg+173kg) and was so ahead of competition that he forfeited his final clean and jerk lift.
Fourth🥇medal is a charm.— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) April 7, 2018
4 Gold medals in 3 days. It has been a tremendous display by the #weightlifting team for #India. Many congratulations Ragala Venkat Rahul. Here are the glimpses of🥇winning performance and medal ceremony. #IndiaAtCWG #TOPSAthlete #SAI 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/ChknTC3GR1
Rahul, on the other hand, had to wait right till the end owing to close competition from eventual silver-medallist Samoa's Don Opeloge.
Both the lifters were nursing niggles but their physio Aakrant Saxena did not have access to them in the competition area because of the accreditation blunder that hasn't given the requisite access. It's a blunder for which neither the national federation nor the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is willing to claim the blame.
"I had no hopes of winning a medal after I injured my thighs during the national championships while attempting 194kg in clean and jerk. It's a quadriceps problem, even now I am competing at less than ideal fitness but I am glad that was enough to get me a gold," Sathish said after his medal ceremony.
The 21-year-old Rahul, who is a Commonwealth Championships gold-medallist, lifted a total of 338kg (151kg+187kg) to finish on top. "I had been weakened by a knee injury during the Commonwealth Championships last year. But the coaches supported me immensely to get this medal. I haven't been able to train that well," he said.
"I am still not fully recovered," said the lifter who wears his later mother's anklet around his forehead as a goodluck charm. "I put this on after she passed away two years ago. I get inspired by this," said the lifter who managed a total of 351kg (156kg+195kg) in the Commonwealth Championships last year. The Indian was locked in a close battle with Opeloge, who ended with a total of 331kg (151kg+180kg).
Both the lifters opted for 191kg as their final clean and jerk lift and both of them failed but Rahul clinched the top prize owing to Opeloge's failed second attempt at a 188kg lift. "This is the most important medal of my career," said the CWG debutant, whose father R Madhu was also a national level weightlifter. Had Opologe managed a good final lift, Rahul would have ended with a silver as he had already fouled his third attempt.
Indian paddlers continued their impressive run as they outshone Malaysia to cruise into the semifinals of both men's and women' team events on day three of competitions. #GC2018 #CWG2018 #Commonwealth2018 #GC2018TableTennis pic.twitter.com/liZGnKoVnm— All India Radio Sports (@akashvanisports) April 7, 2018
Earlier, it was a fascinating contest of one-upmanship between Sathish and eventual silver-medallist Jack Oliver of England in the snatch competition. His wobbly legs are not yet back to full strength due to the quadriceps injury though. "I was in so much pain 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, how could I hope for a medal?" said the Tamil Nadu lifter.
Satish had the last laugh quite comfortably in clean and jerk after Oliver failed two attempts of 171kg and settled for a total of 312kg (145kg+167kg). The bronze medal went to Australian showman Francois Etoundi, who lifted 305kg (136kg+169kg) and collapsed clutching his injured houlder after his final lift.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Sathish won the gold medal with 149kg snatch and 179kg clean and jerk lifts, totalling 328kg. His lift of 149kg in snatch continues to be the Games record.
Meanwhile, Indian boxers' rampaging run continued unabated as the veteran duo of L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Manoj Kumar (59kg) advanced to the quarterfinals along with Commonwealth Games debutant Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg).
Sarita, who claimed a bronze in the 2014 edition, pummelled Barbados' Kimberely Gittens in her opening clash to make the last-eight stage.
Hussamuddin, the gold-medallist from India Open, had no trouble in dismantling Vanuatu's Boe Warawara. The script was similar in the clash between Manoj and Tanzania's Kassim Mbundwike, a bout that the Indian won unanimously.
Weightlifting Gold: Men (77kg) Sathish Sivalingam; Venkat Rahul Ragala (85kg); Women (63 kg) Vandna Gupta finished 5th.
Badminton Mixed Team Event: India beat Mauritius 3-0.
Hockey Men: India played out a 2-2 draw with Pakistan.
Table Tennis Women's Team Event: India beat Malaysia 3-0 in quarterfinals; Men's Team Event: India beat Malaysia 3-0 in quarterfinals.
Boxing Women: Sarita Devi (60kg) beat Kimberly Gittens to reach quarterfinals; Mohammed Hussamuddin (56 kg) beat Boe Warawara; Manoj Kumar (56kg) beat Kassim Mbundwike
Gymnastics Men's Individual All-Around Final - Yogeshwar finished 14th; Women's Individual's All-around final - Aruna Bedda Reddy finished 14th; Pranati Das finished 16th.
Swimming Men: 50m Backstroke: Srihari Nataraj in semi-finals; 200m Butterfly: Sajan Prakash finished eighth in finals.
Basketball Men: India lost to England 100-54.
Cycling Men's 15km Scratch Race: Qualifying Heats- Manjeet Singh finished 13th
Men's Sprint Qualifying: Sanuraj Sanandaraj finished 20th; Ranjit Singh finished 21st; Sahil Kumar finished 22nd.
Squash Women's Singles Classic Plate Quarter Final: Dipika Pallikal Karthik conceded a walk over to Samantha Cornett.
Lawn Bowls Women's quarterfinals - India lost to Malta 11-13; Men's Pairs Sectional Play: India lost to Norfolk Island 7-17.