Commonwealth Games 2018: Sathish Sivalingam’s lifting gold adds glow to TN lifters’ hub Sathuvachari
Sathish Sivalingam, who retained the 77kg Commonwealth Games weightlifting title at Gold Coast is the latest in a long line of internationals produced by the lifting nursery near Tamil Nadu’s Vellore town.Updated: Apr 07, 2018 22:52 IST
When Sathish Sivalingam braved pain to lift gold in the men’s 77kg weightlifting class on Saturday, it was another moment for India to rejoice at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Sathish’s success though would have been par for the course in Sathuvachari, a village near Tamil Nadu’s Vellore town regarded as a weightlifting nursery for decades.
Sathuvachari, where Sathish was born, went to school and learnt weightlifting, is a village with many gymnasiums --- not the ones with sparkling floors and state-of-the-art equipment, but one-room set-ups with basic weights. However, they help the youth build their strength and polish their techniques. With many role models in each street, sage advice is never hard to find.
So many international lifters produced by Tamil Nadu have come from Sathuvachari. Its Commonwealth Games connect was first provided by Tamil Selvan, who won silver in the 1978 Edmonton edition.
Many lifters from the village made a mark at international level after that. Sathish added lustre to the Sathuvachari’s ironmen when he won gold at the 2014 Glasgow CWG.
Sathish’s father Sivalingam, an ex-serviceman, was also a weightlifter and has won medals and he is only continuing the tradition.
Decades ago, Sathuvachari was a farming village. However, the river that ran close by dried up, and over time the hardy youth of the village saw weightlifting as a route to recognition and employment.
Many lifters from Satuvachari, including Sathish, are employed with the Railways. The village can be compared to Sansarpur, the cradle of Indian hockey in Punjab, though it has received far less attention.
Sathish’s triumph in Gold Coast though should bring fresh focus on Sathuvachari’s modest gyms, lifters and their weighty deeds.