Polio-Stricken At 4, Sudhir Lifts CWG Gold At 27


By: Navneet Mundhra
Updated: August 5, 2022 14:36

BENGALURU: On Thursday, 27-year-old Sudhir scripted history by bagging the first gold medal for India in the annals of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in the Men’s Heavyweight Para Powerlifting.

The doughty athlete lifted 208kg in his first attempt before cranking it up to 212kg in his second essay. In his third lift, Sudhir attempted to up the ante and lift 217kg. Though unsuccessful, he still created a CWG record owing to his lift of 212 kg in the second attempt.

His 212kg lift amounted to 134.5 points which is the highest in CWG history. In para powerlifting, calculus is used to determine points based on the athlete’s best lift, body weight, age, gender and other factors.

Sudhir’s splendiferous feat lifted the morale of India’s para powerlifters, who had a rather dismal outing. Earlier in the day, Manpreet Kaur and Sakina Khatun failed to win a medal in the women’s lightweight division. Sudhir’s gold medal has opened India’s para sports medal account in the CWG 2022.

He pipped Nigeria’s Ikechukwu Christian Obichukwu, who settled for the silver with 133.6 points.

 

“I absolutely thought I would win gold. My preparation was very good and I thank Birmingham for this. Apart from the preparation, the weather was good and the crowd was fantastic. Next for me is a celebration: I’m going to London to enjoy some shopping and see the city,” he said, beaming with joy after his glorious win.

Sudhir’s sporting journey underlines his undaunting passion, relentless resolve, and steely nerve. Born in 1994 into a family of farmers in Haryana’s Sonipat, he contracted polio – due to high fever – at the age of four. However, he didn’t let his physical disability dampen his spirits. From childhood, he was drawn towards sports, which eventually led him to take up weightlifting.

Committed to making a name for himself, he started powerlifting in 2013 in Sonipat. He first attracted the attention of the weight-lifting fraternity in 2016 when he racked up a gold in his first nationals. For the next two years, he continued to make waves in the domestic circuit.

He was named “Strong Man of India” at the 17th Senior and 12th Junior National Para Powerlifting Championships in 2018.

International fame came to him in 2018 when Sudhir marked his international debut in style and secured a bronze medal at the Asian Para Games 2018. However, his father passed away on the same day he bagged a medal.

This year, he notched up another bronze in men’s up to 88kg with the best lift of 214kg at the World Para Powerlifting Asia-Oceania Open Championship in South Korea. Now with a gold in CWG, the year 2022 is truly turning out to be his annus mirabilis.

A graduate from MDU Rohtak with a BA in Sanskrit, he’s currently plying his trade as a senior coach (weightlifting) for the Government of Haryana.

His inspiring journey drives home the point that a person’s only disability is a bad attitude.

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