India's Pardeep Singh lifted a combined total of 352 kg (152 kg in snatch and 200 kg in clean and jerk) to win a silver medal in the men's 105 kg category on the final day of the weightlifting events in the Commonwealth Games.
So far, India have won five golds, two silvers and two bronze medals out of their 13 overall medals just in this sport.
In snatch, Pardeep looked a tad nervous as he started with an unsuccessful attempt of 148 kg. He, however, gained some momentum in his second attempt, successfully lifting the weight. His third attempt, four kilos above his previous two -- 152 kg, too was successful as he sat comfortably in the second position by the end of the round.
In clean and jerk, he successfully lifted 200 kg -- four kilos more than his personal best of 196 kg -- to set a new personal best. His next attempt of 209 kg was initially ruled successful, but was eventually overruled. His last attempt of 211 kg, going for gold, though spirited, was ultimately unsuccessful.
Pardeep had come into the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast with the expectation that he would, at the very worst, return to India with a medal. At the Commonwealth Championships last year -- a competition featuring many of the weightlifters who would go on to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, he had claimed a surprise gold medal in what was his first senior competition in 105kg.
It was an important medal for the 22-year old who had started his weightlifting career after being advised to start training by a teacher at the government school in his village of Manki, in the Jalandhar district of Punjab.
While he had done well at the national level, setting records and winning titles at the junior and youth categories, success in the senior international circuit was harder, especially with him having to compete with weightlifters like Vikas Thakur (who moved from the 85kg category to the 94kg division), who moved up from a lower weight division. .
Success was more forthcoming in the men's 105kg division at the Commonwealth Championships last year. His gold medal was won with a total lift of 342kg (147 snatch and 195kg in the clean and jerk). Since his achievement at the Commonwealth Championships, Singh had continued to progress rapidly. At the World Championships in 2017, Singh might have finished a poor 19th, yet he had boosted his personal best in snatch (147kg to 153kg) as well as clean and jerk (195kg to 196kg).
At the Commonwealth Games, his goal had been to win gold as well. Despite the fact that he had several competitors totalling lifts around the vicinity of his totals, he remained optimistic about his prospects. "The top weightlifters are around the same mark. In the time that is left, (between now and CWG) if I work hard, it can happen. Koi badi gal nahin (It's not a big deal)," he had said.
As it turns out, he wasn't wrong either.