Celebrations erupt as Varanasi’s Punam wins Commomwealth Games gold
Celebrations erupted in Dandupur village of Varanasi after local girl Punam Yadav won a weightlifting gold medal for India at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast (Australia) in the 69-kg category.lucknow Updated: Apr 09, 2018 14:49 IST
Celebrations erupted in Dandupur village of Varanasi after local girl Punam Yadav won a weightlifting gold medal for India at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast (Australia) in the 69-kg category on Sunday.
Punam lifted a total of 222 kg, which included 100 kg in snatch and 122 kg in clean and jerk.
As congratulatory messages poured in, Punam’s younger brothers Ashutosh and Abhishek ran to a sweet shop and bought laddoos to celebrate the moment which had come after much hardship, the family said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “India congratulates Punam Yadav for winning the Gold Medal in the 69 kg women’s weightlifting event. Her dedication towards weightlifting is truly admirable.”
Daughter of a milkman, Punam did not have an easy start to her career as the family did not have enough money for her training. Her father, Kailash Yadav, had to sell his buffalo so that Punam could prepare properly and be part of the Indian contingent in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games where she won a bronze medal in the 63 kg category, her family said.
At the time, the family borrowed money to buy sweets for Punam when she returned home, her mother Urmila Devi recalled.
“My daughter is more than a hero for us,” said Kailash, who has been on a pilgrimage for the last 15 days, praying for his daughter’s success.
Urmila Devi said Punam had spoken to her on Friday evening and promised to win gold and now she has kept her word.
“We are very happy. My daughter has made us and the country proud,” Urmila said.
Soon after winning gold in Australia, Punam dialled her mother’s number again and exclaimed: “Mummy, I have won gold!”
“I spoke to my mother on the mobile phone to seek her blessings which gave me strength,” Punam said from Gold Coast, adding her next goal was an Olympic gold medal.
Besides her hard work, she gave credit to blessings and support of her parents for her success.
With a lot riding on his daughter, Kailash offered prayers at temples in Gujarat and the Vindhyavasini shrine in Mirzapur before visiting the ashram of his guru at Shakteshgarh, also in Mirzapur.
And Urmila said she spent Saturday night praying for Punam’s success. Evidently, the prayers were answered.
She and other family members turned on the television early Sunday morning to watch Punam taste success.
Her brothers Ashutosh and Abhishek said, “Didi is our ideal. We will work hard and win medals for the country.” Ashutosh is an athlete and Abhishek an aspiring hockey player.
Punam’s younger sister Shashi won a bronze medal in the senior national weightlifting championship recently. Her other sister Pooja Yadav won gold in the Junior National Championship in 2017.
GP Sharma, who had been Punam’s coach at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) training centre at the Guru Govind Singh Sports College in Lucknow, recalled her commitment to hard work. The desire to achieve something big was her motivation, he said.
“I coached her for almost four years at the college, and she was always a hardworking lifter who never said no to extra training,” said Sharma, who retired recently.
“Even after winning a bronze medal at the Glasgow Games, Punam vowed to improve her performance at Gold Coast and she did so in style,” he said.
Punam, who took up weightlifting in 2011, had claimed a silver at last year’s Commonwealth Championships, her first event after making the jump from 63kg to the 69kg category.
Sundar Mishra, regional sports officer (Varanasi, said, “It is a matter of great pride for the sports fraternity of Varanasi. She will be a source of inspiration for other sportspersons.”
Divisional railway manager, North Eastern Railway (Varanasi division), SK Jha said, “Punam Yadav has done us proud. Her achievement will inspire other sportspersons in the division.”
Punam is currently employed with Indian Railways as a travelling ticket examiner. She is posted in Varanasi division of North Eastern Railway.