“I was hoping against hope that something would happen and it did,” said weightlifter Harjinder Kaur after getting a bronze medal in the women’s 71kg at the Commonwealth Games in a rather dramatic climax.
Luck was on Harjinder’s side as she was assured of a podium finish after Nigeria’s gold medal favourite Joy Eze was knocked out following three failed attempts in the clean and jerk category.
Harjinder totaled 212kg (93 in snatch and 119 in clean and jerk). She could not believe her luck after a nail-biting end to the final.
“When I saw the silver medalist complete her lift, I was heartbroken. I had given up all hope. But I was taken aback when the Nigerian who had been ahead of her couldn’t complete any of her lifts,” Harjinder said.
“I was hoping against hope that something would happen and luckily for me, it did,” she added.
Weightlifting has been a happy hunting ground for India at the ongoing Games with three gold already in the bag.
“I am extremely proud, as there were a lot of expectations on me from the entire country and I managed to live up to them. Winning this medal means so much to me,” said the 25-year-old lifter from Nabha, Punjab.
She said the crowd support at the NEC arena also made a huge difference.
“I gave it my all because I could see all of the Indian weightlifters and fans people who had come all the way from different parts of the country to watch us. That pushed me so much. I gave it absolutely everything,” the weightlifter said.
To start with, Harjinder failed to lift 90kg snatch in her first attempt. Under pressure, the Indian bounced back and lifted 90kg snatch on her second attempt, a personal best.
Harjinder, then, lifted 93kg snatch in her third attempt to stay in contention for a podium finish.
Heading into the clean and jerk round, Harjinder was in for a close fight with Australia’s Kiana Elliot for bronze.
A silver medalist at last year’s Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, the Indian started the clean and jerk round with 113kg, went for 116 kg in the next attempt, and lifted 119kg on her third attempt.