2018 Commonwealth Games: P Gururaja’s mission to lift his family starts with silver
For someone who had to literally beg his father — a truck driver who wanted the fifth born of his six sons to either concentrate on education or work to supplant the family’s income — to allow him to pursue sports, P Gururaja has come a long way as he stood on the podium at the Commonweath Games in Gold Coast with a silver medal around his neck.
His achievement is even more remarkable because the 25-year-old from Udupi in Karnataka never thought of weightlifting till as late as 2010, he was 17 then, because wrestling was his passion.
“When I won a state-level medal and got into the sports hostel in my district, my father wanted me to use the time to concentrate on education so that I can get a job and help my family.
“But a few years later when I decided to shift to weightlifting, I had another chat with my father as I wanted him to support me as I would need around Rs 4000 per month for my diet and protein supplements. He was a bit worried but agreed. I can never thank him enough for showing faith in me despite his limited resources,” Gururaja said on Thursday after winning India’s first medal here.
The sacrifices and hardship faced by him and his family, his own aspirations and his desire to help support his family flashed through his mind in the two minutes he had to prepare for his do-or-die third attempt in clean and jerk.
“As I got ready to go for the third lift, my coach reminded me how much my life depended on that one lift. I did that for my family and country,” Gururaja said.
Employed with the Indian Air Force, Gururaja, the only person from his family to get a government job, hopes the medal will enble him improve his family financially.
Gururaja’s is the typical rags to success story that Indian sport has witnessed on numerous occasions.
His brothers were also good sportsmen but could not chase their dreams. Gururaja was different and probably more determined and loved the fact that he received a chunk of his family’s meagre resources and made the most of it.
Having shifted to weightlifting, initially he found the adjustment difficult. “I couldn’t lift the bar, forget lifting weights. But my first coach Rajendra Prasad had faith and was patient,” said Gururaja.
Now that Gururaja has made his breakthrough, he wants to do well in bigger events like Asian Games and Olympics.