Katulu Ravi Kumar and Yumnam Renu Bala Chanu earned India's first gold medals at the Commonwealth Games weightlifting competition at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex here on Wednesday.

The two won gold medals in men's 69 kg and women's 58 kg weight categories after the host missed out on medals on the opening day and drew a blank on Tuesday as well.

India has won two gold, two silver and as many bronze medals in three days of action.

“Two years of hard work has given me this gold medal,” Ravi Kumar said. “I thank my family and the federation in helping me reach this far,” he said.

Ravi Kumar's stupendous show also helped him improve upon three Games records and also the senior National marks. The 22-year-old hoisted 146 kg in snatch and 175 in clean and jerk for a record total of 321.

Ravi also lowered the Commonwealth Championship snatch record with his effort. The previous record of 145 stood in the name of Vencelas Tientchen Dabaya of Cameroon. The Games' snatch record belonged to Irfan Mohammad of Pakistan at 140 and the clean and jerk and total were in the name of Dabaya set in 2002.

Chinthana Geetal Vidanage of Sri Lanka took the silver medal (308) and Mohammad Hafifi Mansor of Malaysia took the bronze medal (306). Interestingly, the Sri Lankan first broke the jerk mark with a lift of 174 which was snatched away by the Indian in his final lift.

Easy defence

Defending champion Yumnam Renu Bala Chanu retained the women's 58 kg weight class gold medal with consummate ease. In the process, the 24-year-old Guwahati-based Northeast Frontier Railway employee set a new Games snatch record with a lift of 90 kg in her final attempt. Renu added 107 kg to her snatch record to total 197 to win the gold medal for the second successive time.

Renu hoisted 88 kg to break the existing record of Maryse Turcotte of Canada set in 2002 in her second and improved upon it in her next attempt to 90. Renu's National records stand at 93 for snatch, 119 for clean and jerk and 209 for total.

Seen Lee of Australia, a bronze medalist at the Manchester Games, won silver (192 kg) and the 16-year-old Youth Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Zoe Smith of England, picked up bronze (188) in her first senior international meet.

“Jai Ho,” was her first reaction when asked about the golden triumph. “I dedicate the gold medal to the people of India and to the Indian Weightlifting Federation,” she gushed. “The IWF went through some tough phases in recent times and this gold medal, I think, will help a lot in recovering from the setbacks,” she said.

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