BIRMINGHAM: It has been a windfall of medals for Indian weightlifters here. After Mirabai Chanu showed the way with a gold on Saturday, Jeremy Lalrinnunga and Achinta Sheuli followed with two more top positions. Achinta lifted 313kg (143kg in snatch + 170kg in clean and jerk) late on Sunday to smash the CWG record in the 73kg category.
TOI caught up with the 2 0-year-old on the sidelines on Monday.
Has the feeling of being a gold medal winner sunk in yet?
It is a proud moment for me. But I was also trying to break my personal best in the process, and not being able to do that was a bit disappointing.
You hold the clean and jerk and overall Indian record in the 73kg category, but the snatch is missing. Were you looking to break it here?
There was a stiff fight between me and the second-placed Malaysian (Erry Hidayat Muhammad). The coaches were actually playing it safe because we didn’t want to let go of the gold medal. Otherwise, had I given my best performance, I would’ve broken the record in snatch (145kg, belonging to Deepak Lather).
How many #CommonwealthGames medals in this frame? 😌📸: IG/achinta_sheuli #B2022 | #IndiaAtB2022 | @mirabai_chanu… https://t.co/p4z9yDWNrB
— Olympic Khel (@OlympicKhel) 1659347670000
How confident were you of winning gold?
I was not just looking to get gold, but attaining my personal best was as great a motive. As I said, I could’ve done better but in the second clean and jerk lift, I had a little blackout and got confused where to give the final push.
You journey to the top hasn’t been easy and you have had to endure a lot of struggles…
When my father passed away in 2013, I was totally lost and didn’t get any support from anywhere. My elder brother was also into weightlifting but he had to leave the sport and do odd jobs. My mother also had to work. I used to help my mother, have also embroidered floral designs on clothes. I used to do those embroideries with my own hands. My daily schedule was like: Wake up at 6.30 in the morning, work till 9 and then train from 9.30am onwards. I used to come back from training at 10.30 and then go to school at around 11. After school, I would train again and return at 8 in the evening. I was just a 12 or 13 year old boy. My mother and brother also toiled all day. It was a life full of hardships.
🏋️♂️Achinta Sheuli talks about his role model @mirabai_chanu and why he wants to dedicate his @birminghamcg22 🥇 to… https://t.co/L70QBRogJL
— Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) 1659366804000
What did those difficult times teach you?
The lesson I learnt is to never give up. Even when I am lifting, and there hasn’t been a clean lift, I keep telling myself that I have undergone worse situations in my life and I will be able to overcome these problems.
Now that the CWG gold is done, are you planning to get the country a medal at the Olympics?
I will try and qualify for the Olympics in the 73kg category. My weight class will remain the same. I think I will have to fight harder because Jeremy (Lalrinnunga) is likely to go up to 73kg for the Olympics as well. He is a very good friend of mine, so maybe we will help each other out.
Four of #TeamIndia’s six medallists at #B2022 – 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙬𝙚𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙨 – in one frame 🏋♂️🏋♀️🤩📷#EkIndiaTeamIndia |… https://t.co/Fg0yaVTMcn
— Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) 1659340312000
Weightlifting has been reaping medals for India in this CWG. Can you tell your views about the role coach Vijay Sharma has played?
Coach sir himself puts in a lot of hard work. A single mistake in training and he gets more worried than me. He is constantly thinking how to make sure I improve in every set. Not just me, but everyone’s performance is improving.