Indian heavyweight lifter Vikas Thakur won a silver in the men’s 96kg category at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday. The 28-year-old lifted a total of 346kg (155kg+191kg) to finish second. 

The five-time Commonwealth Championships medallist had three clean lifts of 149kg, 153kg and 155kg to be in joint third-position after the snatch round. In the clean and jerk section, he started off with a 187kg lift, which he executed perfectly.

His second attempt was of 191kg , with a little effort, the Punjab lifter was able to pull it off and celebrated it with a ‘thigh-five’, an action which was made popular by Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan.

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With a silver assured, Thakur went for 198kg, a kilogram more than his personal best, in his third attempt. However, he was  unsuccessful.

Samoa’s Don Opeloge 381kg (171kg+210kg) clinched a gold with a record breaking performance while Fiji’s Taniela Tuisuva Rainibogi walked away with the bronze with a total effort of 343kg (155kg+188kg).

“More glory at the CWG, this time due to Vikas Thakur, who wins a Silver in Weightlifting. Delighted by his success. His dedication to sports is commendable. Wishing him the very best for upcoming endeavours,” PM Narendra Modi tweeted following his win. 

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Who is Vikas Thakur?

Born on November 14, 1993, in Patnoun, Himachal Pradesh, Vikas Thakur started weightlifting at the age of 9. His father works with the Indian Railways. The family moved to Ludhiana almost 3 decades ago.

Thakur announced his arrival on the international stage by winning a silver in Commonwealth Games 2014. He lifted 333kgs, which included 150 in snatch and 183 kg in clean and jerk. He narrowly missed the gold to New Zealand’s Richard Patterson who lifted 335 kg (151 + 184). At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018, he won a bronze by lifting a total of 351 kg with 159 kg in snatch and 192 kg in clean and jerk.

In an interview with the Times of India, he spoke about lack of support from the government. 

“The government allots funds for players, however it does not reach them. It should identify the source of corruption. The government does not ask, and players do not raise their voice against it. Even if they raise their voice, nobody listens to them. I belong to a middle-class family, and my family supported me in all ways to make me reach this level. However, not all are fortunate enough to have the motivational and financial support of their families, which is why talent remains buried in Punjab,” he had said.