India has a rich history in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games and it was not different at the 2022 edition of the mega-event. Indian weightlifters took the charge of securing the country medals, such as Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, Sanket Sargar, Gururaja Poojary and Bindyarani Devi bagged four medals on the second day of the event. However, apart from the experienced athletes, several young lifters are also making their debuts at the Commonwealth Games 2022 and Popy Hazarika is one of them.
One of the emerging talents in weightlifting in India, Hazarika has displayed consistent performances in recent years. However, despite her delivering steady performances and winning several laurels, Popy Hazarika remains a mystery for many Indian sporting enthusiasts. Let’s take a look at who she is and how she reached the top.
Born on December 8, 1998, in a remote village named Namti Salkathoni in the Sibsagar district of Assam, Popy Hazarika is the youngest of four siblings. She lost her father, who worked as a driver, at the age of 10, following which her mother took over the responsibility of earning and raising Popy and her siblings.
She initially became interested in discus and javelin throw while she was attending her village school. It was at this time when she lost her father, following which, she met another promising weightlifter from the state, Dimpi Dutta and began training in the discipline under coach Duljit Boruah at the weightlifting hall of Swahid Peoli Phukan College.
While she began her weightlifting training, her mother Dipti began to work as a cook at the village school, apart from working as a daily wager in rice fields.
Popy spent six hours a day training under her coach and went on to clinch the gold medal at a state meet in 2014, lifting almost her body weight. Following this, Popy, along with Dimpi Dutta were selected in a talent hunt and received the opportunity to enrol at the SAI Training Centre in Golaghat. This helped Popy in her diet and training and saved money to travel back to her home.
She became the state champion in 2016, before winning the silver medal in the 59kg category at the Junior Nationals two years later. She also won a silver medal at the Senior Nations in 2020, followed by a silver and a gold at the Senior Nations in Patiala and Orissa.
Popy Hazarika made her international debut in 2021, when she participated in the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, winning the silver medal. She followed that success with a gold medal at Singapore International in 2022.
Popy’s success in the domestic and international circuits also resulted in her getting a Railways job in 2021.