CWG 2022: Sanket Mahadev Sargar wins silver in 55kg weightlifting

Sanket Mahadev Sargar poses with his silver medal (55kg weightlifting) at the 2022 Commonwealth Games IOA / Annesha Ghosh

Sanket Mahadev Sargar opened India's account at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, winning the silver medal in the 55kd division. The 21-year-old Indian lifted a total of 248kg (Snatch - 113kg; C&J - 135 kg), finishing second to Bin Kasdan Mohamad Aniq of Malaysia, who lifted a total of 249 kg (Snatch - 107kg, C&J - 142 kg). Dilanka Isuru Kumara Yodage of Sri Lanka earned the bronze with a total of 225 kg (Snatch - 105kg; 120kg)

Sargar made quick work of his opening snatch attempt, lifting 107kg with relative ease, although Aniq also lifted the same weight to tie him in first place. The 21-year-old Indian raised the stakes with a successful 111kg lift, but Aniq's 2nd and 3rd attempts to lift the same weight failed. Dilanka Yodage looked to have lifted 112kg to take the lead, but judges ruled it a no-lift. Sargar then equalled his personal best snatch record, lifting 113 kg to extend his lead at the top.

In the Clean & Jerk, Sargar started off successfully with a 135 kg lift, with Yodage cementing his bronze with a 120 kg. Aniq drew close with a 137 kg lift, but Sargar failed in his final two attempts to lift 139 kg, injuring himself in the process. Aniq needed 142 kg - a Games record for C&J - to win the gold medal, and after failing first, managed to lift successfully in his last attempt to win gold.

Sargar's injury was the primary talking point after the event, as the 21-year-old even attempted a third lift despite being in obvious pain. His injury was plain to see in the medal ceremony, with his arm in a sling.

"There were no errors committed during the lift. I felt a sudden load on my right elbow so I couldn't control it and there were two clicks I heard," Sargar said at the mixed zone. "In training, I lift 143kgs. I had to go for it as there was a gold at stake. I am not happy with myself because I have been training for the last four years only for the gold. I am a bit happy but mostly feel I could have done better. I did not take the risk to go beyond my national record because completing a lift is important as well."

"Before the last lift, sir (coach Vijay Sharma) asked me whether I wanted to go ahead. He tried to stop me at first but later encouraged me. I lifted more than this in practice."

"I will go for X-ray after the dope samples were collected and the actual status will be known. Currently I'm in a lot of pain, please let me go fast," he pleaded at the Indian scribes. "I want to dedicate this medal to all the freedom fighters who didn't care for their lives and gave us independence," said Sargar who became the second Commonwealth medalist from Sangli after wrestler Bharti Mane (Bharati Mane).

"Yes people would be happy back home but I'm disappointed of losing out on a gold. Hope to come back stronger"

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Sargar holds the national record and Commonwealth record of 256kg (Snatch - 113kg; C&J - 143kg) in the 55kg category, achieved at the Singapore Weightlifting International in February, earlier this year. By virtue of that lift, he qualified for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Hailing from the weightlifting belt of Sangli, Maharashtra, Sargar is already a three-time national champion, having also won gold at the Khelo India Youth Games. He already held the national record after lifting a total of 244kg in the Khelo India University Games in 2020.

At the international stage, Sargar had the spotlight first cast on him in December 2021, after a 113kg snatch lift in the 2021 Commonwealth Senior Championships in Tashkent earned him a gold medal.