What could have been an agonising wait transformed into a pleasant journey for the Indian weightlifters.
With the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) struggling to arrange for the remaining fine amount of $375,000 (of the $500,000 imposed by the International Weightlifting Federation) by August 31, there was a question mark over the participation of the host lifters in the Commonwealth Games. However, the IWLF ensured that the athletes did not get distracted from their training because of the uncertainty.
“For us, there never was any uncertainty. Despite all that had been happening around us, the federation Secretary (Sahdev Yadav) always had words of assurance for us. Even his wife would come and assure us that if needed they would sell their house to pay the fine. Such gestures immensely boosted our morale and helped us maintain our focus on the training,” lifter K. Ravi Kumar, one of the medal prospects for India in the men's 69kg category, told The Hindu on Monday.
National coach Harnam Singh agreed. “It was never a case when anyone had doubts whether we would get the chance to participate at all,” he said.
Now that the big hurdle has been overcome, the side is well-prepared for the Games and is raring to bring glory. The lifters are not the ones to complain about small things in the Games Village and are enjoying their stay. “We are very comfortable here. We have the advantage of having the training venue inside the village. It is so good, some 12 lifters can train there at a time,” said Ravi, the current Commonwealth gold medallist.
On his personal target in the Games, Ravi said he aimed at lifting a total of 330kg, which was way ahead of the effort required for the gold medal. “Last Friday, I did a total of 335kg during the training.
So, 330kg is not an impossible task,” said 23-year-old Ravi, who lifted 321kg during the selection trials here in August.
Ravi admitted that he was looking forward to train under the guidance of his personal coach D.D. Sharma, who was away with the Indian side at the World championship in Turkey. “He is a great motivator. I feel assured to know that he will be joining us in a day or two.”
Harnam painted a rosy picture of the overall scenario. “All the lifters are in top form and I expect a couple of them — Ravi Kumar and Renubala Chanu — to smash the Commonwealth Games records,” he said.
The coach informed that the lifters were doing light training. “We are giving them 70-80 per cent of workload now and we will increase it later,” he said.
Harnam has set a realistic target of 10 to 12 medals for India in the Games. “In the women's section, Soniya Chanu and Renubala are strong gold medal prospects, while Ravi and Chandrakant Mali are our hopes among men. A few others are also capable of winning the gold,” Harnam said.