Teenager Achyutananda Sahoo, who hails from a remote village of Orissa, defied poverty to clinch gold in the Youth Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship in Cape Town, South Africa.

The 17-year-old, whose parents struggle to make both ends meet, bagged two gold and a silver in the 62kg weight category to put his village on the world map.

The locals in the nondescript Manipura village erupted in joy after the success of the local boy.

“We are poor people. I never dreamed that my son would travel abroad and make us proud. I am very happy. I have no words to describe,” Bairagi Chandra Sahoo, father of the gold medal winner, said.

“I have four children, Achyut is the eldest. The crop return has not been enough to make both ends meet. Thus, to augment the income, I run a small grocery shop,” added the proud father.

Achyutananda’s mother was also jubilant at her son’s success.

“Achyut informed me of his grand success over phone on Tuesday. He was crying,” said an elated mother.

“Achyut was not good at studies. He loved playing volleyball and other sports. I used to beat him up for neglecting studies. It was Narayan Chandra Barik, the village volleyball coach, who spotted his talent and honed his skills,” revealed the father of the lifter.

The youngster’s coach was all praise for Achyutananda as he narrated the journey of the boy to South Africa.

“I found the boy hardworking and talented enough to be a good weightlifter. I impressed upon the then district sports officer to send him for selection in state sports hostel. He was selected and was enrolled in Berhampur’s government-run sports hostel,” said Barik.

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