LUCKNOW Money and pride have been the driving force for Virendra Singh Markam, a tribal boy who made India proud by winning a gold medal at the Asian Powerlifting Championship in Hong Kong on Monday night.Virendra’s lift of 470 kg -- including 170 kg squat, 105 kg bench press and 195 kg dead-lift -- not only fetched him his first international gold medal but also raised the hopes of his father Mangala Prasad and family to get some money for this feat so that their living condition could be improved.The financial condition of Virendra’s family is not very good as his father is a labourer and the family just manages to make two ends meet.Virendra, 19, who hails from Kundadeeh village in Myorepur town of Sonbhadra district, had won a gold medal at the junior nationals last year in the 53 kg category.“Money makes all the difference and we know how important the achievement of my trainee (Virendra) is for his family,” his coach Kamlapati Tripathi said on Tuesday.“Virendra may not have achieved this feat had the people of the area, including politicians, businessmen and even villagers, not contributed funds for his tour. At one point, arranging funds for him had become difficult,” added Tripathi, under whom Virendra has been training since 2011.After being selected in the Indian team through trials at the Federation Cup in February, Virendra needed Rs 1.28 lakh to fund his tour to Hong Kong and the last date to deposit the money was March 31. With each passing day, his dream of making it to the championship seemed difficult. However, his well-wishers arranged the money in time.“Only after he (Virendra) deposited the required money for his Hong Kong tour, he could concentrate on his preparation for the championship. His aim was a podium finish. Now, with is success, his father as well as mother, who works in an Anganwadi, are on cloud nine and they are sure things will change for the better for Virendra,” said Tripathi.“Virendra wants to improve the living condition of his family by earning some good money through his sport and that’s the reason why he put extra effort in training before the Hong Kong event. It’s just the beginning of good times for him and I am sure he will have many such achievements soon,” said the coach, who runs LR Fitness Centre in Mirzapur.The coach said Virendra derived inspiration from another powerlifter Nidhi Singh of Sonbhadra area. “Nidhi represented India nine times in international events and won several medals. Virendra saw her as his role model,” said Tripathi.“When I see players winning medals at the international level, I feel proud as I always wanted to win a medal for India. I couldn’t manage funds to sponsor my tour for the 2006 World Cup in Japan,” he said, adding, “That incident has motivated me to do my best for other rising stars,” said Tripathi, himself a national medallist in powerlifting.