Weightlifter Achinta Shelui has won India its third gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games at Birmingham. He participated in the men’s 73kg category and managed a total 313kg lift which includes 143kg in Snatch and 170kg in Clean and Jerk.
Weightlifting is turning into one of the most sought-after sporting disciplines in India, following the rise of modern-day icon Saikhom Mirabai Chanu. It also has a rich history of representing the country at the Commonwealth Games, winning the first medal at the 1966 edition of the event. However, Chanu’s emergence has also been followed by the rise of several youngsters all across the country, some of whom are making their debuts at the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Achinta Sheuli is one of the few young Indian weightlifters looking to make a mark at the Commonwealth Games 2022. While he has clinched medals in domestic and international events before, he remains one of the least known members of the Indian contingent at the event. Let’s take a look at who Achinta Sheuli is and how he broke into the limelight.
Born on November 24, 2001, in Howrah, West Bengal, Sheuli’s earliest introduction to weightlifting came in 2011, when he visited a local gym where his elder brother, Alok, trained. Coming from a poor family, where his father Jagat drove a cycle rickshaw and worked as a labourer to raise his kids, it was not an easy road for Achinta to take professional training. The situation became bleaker in 2013, when his father died after suffering a stroke, forcing his brother to become the only earner of the family.
Achinta’s mother, Purnima, also took up odd jobs to help feed the family. It was at that time that he began competing in local events, winning a silver medal at a district meet in 2012. The next year, he finished just shy of a medal finish in the first national level event of his career, at the fourth spot in the Sub Junior Nationals in the 50kg category.
Sheuli was selected in the Army Sports Institute trials, where he enrolled in 2015. His abilities helped him to join the Indian National Camp in the same year. He continued his training at the Army Sports Institute in 2016 and 2017 but has been training at the national camp since 2018.
He came under the limelight in 2015, when he won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Youth Championships, competing in the 56kg event. He moved to the 69kg event later and won a silver medal at the Asian Youth Championships in 2018.
2018 turned out to be a memorable year for the young lifter, who also clinched the gold medal in the Junior and Senior Commonwealth Championships 2018. Another gold medal also came by as he emerged victorious in the SAF Games in 2019.
Achinta also bagged the gold medal in Senior Nationals in 2019, while being an 18-year-old at the time.
After the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the youngster went on to claim the Commonwealth Senior Championships gold medal in 2021, before winning the Junior World Championship silver medal in the same year.
His consistent performances helped him to qualify for the Commonwealth Games 2022, where he won Gold in the men’s 73kg category.