P. Gururaja from Vandse in Udupi district clinched Bronze in the Men’s 61 kg weight category at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, 2022, on Saturday, consecutively winning the second medal after winning Silver in the 56 kg category at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Competing with Canada’s Youri Simrad, Mr. Gururaj lifted a total of 269 kg (snatch-118 kg; clean jerk-151 kg), one kg more to Mr. Simrad, to clinch the second medal for India in the CWG 2022. Congratulating him, Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said with the medal, Mr. Gururaja brings back more glories home. The way he bounced back at the Clean and Jerk round is laudable, Mr. Thakur said in his tweet.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in his tweet said Mr. Gururaja has made the nation proud with his medal. He is from Kundapura taluk and it is a matter of honour for the State. The whole nation is rejoicing his victory, a result of his sustained hard work and indomitable grit, Mr. Bommai said.
Born to truck driver Mahabala Poojari and homemaker Paddu Poojarthi, Mr. Gururaja with eight siblings had a tough beginning. His interest came to the fore at a very early stage, when he was studying at the government primary school in Vandse, where his talent was encouraged. At the Mookambika High School, Kollur, physical education teacher Sukesh Shetty encouraged him in wrestling. Mr. Gururaja shifted to weightlifting while studying graduation at the SDM College, in Ujire, with the guidance of PE Director Rajendra Prasad.
Life was not easy for Mr. Gururaja as he could get little financial support from the family where his father was struggling to maintain it. He used whatever prize money received on training and diet.
Though he had attempted to join the Army, his height (156 cm) came in the way. However, he got selected as an aircraftsman with the Indian Air Force thereby improving his situation. His household is much better thereafter and now Mr. Gururaja intends to build a spacious house at the village.
His elder brother Manohar said Mr. Gururaja could have won the Gold if not for fever from which he had recovered just four days ago. As he had put up weight, Mr. Gururaja struggled a lot to reduce the weight to 61 kg to qualify in that category, he said.