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Courage as a badge of honour

other Updated: Oct 07, 2010 00:43 IST
Shalabh Manocha

Champions don't give excuses, champions don't fear failure and champions master the moment. Champions are like Renu Bala Chanu and K Ravi Kumar, who fought adversity and triumphed.

After two days of disappointment for India in the weightlifting, Wednesday was golden. For both Chanu and Kumar, it was a first gold medal in their respective disciplines --- the 58kg and 69kg categories.

But equally, for both the 24-year-old girl from Imphal and the 22-year-old man from Orissa, widely considered the best even before the competition began, life is more than winning weightlifting competitions.

"My father is a farmer, we are eight siblings and no one has a job, so financially, things are not very good," Chanu told the HT, even while holding her medal proudly. "This (medal) is just a small token of acknowledgement to the effort my family and childhood coach, Anita Chanu, have put in to make me what I am," the Manipuri said.

Kumar too had his share of problems. "My father died in 2004 and it was only with the support of my mother and cousin that I took to the sport and achieved something."

The two Indians approached the competition with different mindsets. While a confident Chanu said she wasn't nervous because "people only had expectations from those who can deliver", Kumar was nervous till the night before. "But when my snatch was good, the pressure was released."

Chanu took the honours on Wednesday with a total of 197, followed by 192 from Australia's Seen Lee and 188 from England's Zoe Smith. She started the competition with a bang in the snatch, lifting 90kg, her career best and a CWG record. In the clean and jerk too she looked the clear favourite, lifting 107 in her second attempt. Although she failed to lift 113 kg, her previous attempt was good enough for gold.

Ravi made a snatch record of 142 kg and bettered it by lifting four more. He also created a new record in the clean and jerk where he surpassed Sri Lanka's Chinthana Vindange by lifting 175 kg for a total 321. Chinthana lifted 308 for silver while the bronze went to Malaysia's Hafifi Mohammad Mansor, with a total of 306.