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Harshada Sharad became the first Indian weightlifter to win gold at the IWF Junior World Championships. Know how this weightlifter from Maharashtra covered the journey from floor to floor.
Harshada Sharad Garuda (Harshada Sharad Garud) On Monday, she became the first Indian weightlifter to win a gold at the IWF Junior World Championships. When in Heraklion, the port city of Greece Harshada Sharad Garuda When she went ahead for the 64 kg snatch for the first time, the faces of about a hundred smartphone screens in Maharashtra’s Vadgaon Maval were lit up with hope. Harshada’s coach Biharilal Dubey made sure that everyone who knew Harshada in the small town had a link to the live streaming of YouTube. It is rare that someone of his own is taking part in the competition at the world level. Harshada also did not disappoint. On Monday she will be at the IWF Junior World Championships. (IWF Junior World Championships) First Indian weightlifter to win gold in (Weightlifting) Became. He earned gold winning points in all attempts by lifting 64kg, 67kg and 70kg in snatch and 78kg, 81kg and 83kg in clean and jerk.
18-year-old Harshada’s total effort was 153kg (70kg in snatch and 83kg in clean and jerk) which was enough to win gold in a clash with Turkey’s Bektas Kansu. Bektas Kansu had an overall effort of 150kg (65kg and 85kg). This gold made her the first Indian weightlifter to win the title in the event where Mirabai Chanu (bronze in 2013), Jembrane Dalbehera (bronze in 2018) and Achinta Shuli (silver in 2021) came close to winning gold.
Harshada was admitted in the hospital for 10 days
Harshada’s father Sharad was also among those who saw the action from Vadgaon Mawan, whose mind used to shudder after seeing Harshada’s condition a few months back. Harshada then spent about 10 days in the hospital due to food poisoning. Because of that he had to drop out of the university level competition. I did not think that she would be able to participate in this event as well. His hospitalization pushed back his preparations by at least a month. But before going to the event, she told me that she would not lose the gold medal in the junior world. Despite that big setback, he did exactly what he told me. That’s what makes me happy,’ says Sharad, who works as a supervisor in the water department of the nagar panchayat.
Vadgaon Maval is a small town near Pune that is frequented by two types of athletes: long distance runners and weight lifters. ‘We can’t train runners in short-distance sprint events because we don’t get a running track to do so. Then only the recruiters are left. Life here is quite a struggle. But if you don’t struggle, you don’t succeed. That’s mainly what we do here. We work on mindset as much as we work on weight lifting techniques and strengthening the body to lift weights,’ says Biharilal Dubey, who runs the Dubey Gurukul where Harshada trains.
Harshada’s journey is inspiring
Harshada comes from a lower middle class family. There is a proverb in Marathi, ‘Swataha Potala Chimta Gheyun Tila Purvat’ (those who cut their stomachs to feed others) which describes how Harshada’s family lives. That is why she is ready to sweat profusely and work hard. On top of that, she is the one who understands things quickly. You tell her one thing in training and she’ll repeat it without telling her twice. So in the last few months, while training in a national-level camp, his weight lifting capacity has increased by seven to eight kilograms, says Dubey.
There are four more gymnasiums in Vadgaon Maval. Dubey proudly claims that he has trained the trainers of all the gymnasiums. Dubey laughs at the notion that gymnasiums that teach weight lifting are increasingly air conditioned. ‘it is a small town. We have five small gymnasiums, one of which is mine. I train about 25 kids on four lifting platforms in my gym, sometimes it’s so hot that you just can’t stand it. But whatever it is, we have built this gymnasium brick by brick from the ground up,’ he says.
A generation ago, Harshada’s father had also trained at Dubey’s gymnasium. But after the death of his father, as the eldest son, the responsibility of taking care of the family fell on him and he had to give up weightlifting. But when he saw the potential of a better lifter in his daughter during his school days, he took the daughter to the place where he hoped that he would hone his daughter’s talent. Dubey says, ‘When I saw Harshada for the first time, I had caught that she had all the qualities to be a weightlifter. So I told him to concentrate on weightlifting instead of becoming a runner. With six attempts on Monday, Harshada not only repaid the debt of her family’s sacrifice but also put her small town on the international map.