After Karnam Malleswari’s bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, many predicted a bright future for weightlifting, especially in her home State Andhra Pradesh. However, the scenario is quite grim now.

There is not a single weightlifting academy under the purview of Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP). The only place with qualified and dedicated coaches where the young weightlifters can hope for better prospects is the Andhra Pradesh Sports School (APSS) in Hakimpet.

Ironically, the Srikakulam SAAP Weightlifting Academy (in the home district of Malleswari) where many of the young talented girls, especially from Amudalavalasa, were expected to join and move into the big league had to be closed for different reasons. Worse, there are only four qualified weightlifting coaches now.

In this backdrop, 17-year-old Ragala Venkat who won the gold in the Asian Indoor Games in China recently and his Manipur-born, 67-year-old coach Soraisam Achou Singh stand as symbols of hope for the other youngsters. “We are happy with the support of the APSS and the equipment,” say both Rahul and Singh.

Though many predicted a bight future for weightlifting after Karnam Malleswari’s bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the situation is quite grim now in the State