More and more middle-class girls in Varanasi are turning to weightlifting to earn name and fame, for winning medals is the only shortcut they know. And, the Sports Authority of India's centre at the Guru Govind Singh Sports College happens to be best place where they can hone their skills.
One such girl from the center is Swati Singh whose ambition is to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
"Nothing less than a medal at the CWG would satisfy me. I want to make my family proud," Swati said on phone from Patiala.
In the final 'core group' trials last week, Swati surprised her seniors, including Olympian Sanamacha Chanu and Minoti in 53kg category. Three other trainees from the centre --- Renubala Chanu, Sonia Chanu and Shristi Singh --- too have made it to the Indian squad for the Games.
But Swati's success is laudable as the girl wasn't part of the SAI's training scheme for the last one year. She never gave up and trained at the Sports College's gymnasium and bodybuilding centre without the support of quality staff.
"That's history now, I don't want to remember that episode," she added. SAI coach, GP Sharma, who spotted Swati's talent, too expressed happiness over the selection of four of her trainees.
"It's a matter of pride for all of us."
Swati, who bagged silver at the Powerlifting World Championship in South Africa in the sub-junior category in 2004. Within a few months of getting selected at the SAI centre, Swati won a gold and two silvers at the All-India Inter-Varsity Championships.
Presently posted as a 'hammal' a fourth-class employee with the North-Eastern Railway, Swati is a big inspiration for 11 other Varanasi girls in training.