CWG 2022: Gururaja Poojary wins bronze in 61 kg weightlifting

Gururaja Poojary poses with his bronze medal from the 61 kg weightlifting division in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Gururaja Poojary continued India's medal streak in weightlifting in Day 2 of the Commonwealth Games, winning bronze in the 61 kg category. Poojary lifted 269 kg in total (Snatch - 118 kg, Clean & Jerk - 151 kg), finishing behind Morea Baru of Papua New Guinea (273 kg, silver) and Aznil Bin Bidin Muhamad of Malaysia (285 kg, gold).

Poojary began his snatch event with a lift of 115kg, lifting the barbell with almost disdainful ease. Morea Baru of Papua New Guinea upped the ante with a 118 kg lift, which Poojary equalled in his second attempt to go joint top. Youri Simard of Canada moved into the lead with a 119 kg lift, with Poojary failing in his final attempt to lift 120 kg. Baru topped that mark with a 121 lift, which Aznil easily cleared with a 123 kg lift in his first attempt, thus leaving Poojary fourth in the standings. Aznil then proceeded to underline his dominance with a 127 kg lift, but failed in his final attempt to lift 130 kg.

Simard lifted 141 kg in Clean & Jerk to go top, but Poojary lifted 144kg to clear him at the summit. The Canadian trumped that with a 145 kg lift, but Poojary equalled his personal best in the C&J to lift 148kg and regain the lead. Simard responded with a personal best of his own, as he lifted 149 kg in his final lift.

Yet, Poojary went past his personal best in C&J to lift 151 kg with his final lift, thus sealing the bronze medal. Baru & Aznil battled it out for the gold after, with Aznil winning out with a Games Record.

Speaking after the event, Poojary dedicated the medal to his wife, saying "I want to dedicate this medal to my wife. I got married one year ago, and had to stay away from her after marriage to train for the CWG."

CWG 2022 Day 2 live updates: Olympic medallists Mirabai, Lovlina begin

Son of a truck driver, Poojary hails from a village called Vandse in the Udupi district of Karnataka. He was quite interested in wrestling after getting inspired by Sushil Kumar's bronze at the 2008 Olympics, but his coach saw his potential in weightlifting.

Poojary aspired to join the Army but could not get a job because of his height. Needing a steady job to sustain his weightlifting career, he later secured a job in the Indian Air Force, which helped him to pursue his sporting dream.

Past records:

Gururaja first made his mark at the 2016 Commonwealth Championships where he won the gold in 56kg. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, he won the silver medal after a total lift of 249kg (Snatch 111kg, Clean & Jerk 138kg), in the 56 kg division as well. He then shifted to the 61kg weight category and won a silver at the 2021 Commonwealth championships.