NEW DELHI: ‘Papa ko gold ka promise kiya tha, silver aaya, par wo khush hain’ (I had promised my father a gold medal but he is happy with the silver I won), Indian weightlifter Sanket Sargar told TimesofIndia.com from Birmingham after he opened the country’s medal count at the Commonwealth Games by claiming a silver in the men’s 55kg category.
There was a distinct look of dejection on Sanket’s face while attending the medal ceremony with his right elbow in a sling. He was recalling the promise he had made to his father Mahadev Ananda Sargar who runs a ‘paan’ and tea shop in Sangli, Maharashtra.
“I hope this medal will change my family’s fortunes. I don’t want my father to run a ‘paan’ shop anymore,” Sanket told TimesofIndia.com barely a few hours after clinching the silver medal on Saturday.
Sanket’s father Mahadev Ananda Sargar at his paan shop. (Credit: TOI Special Arrangement)
The 21-year-old looked well on course to winning the gold, but two failed clean and jerk attempts, because of a tragic elbow injury, denied him the top honour. He lifted a total of 248kg (113kg+135kg) to finish second in the event.
“After the silver medal win, I spoke to my father and mother. My father said ‘ gold aata to achha rehta par mei khush hoon‘ (The gold would have been good but I am happy). He said let’s see what life has in store after this medal. My father said ‘gold se kismat badalti hai’ (Gold changes destiny). My parents were happy and encouraged me. But gold is gold,” Sanket said.
Sanket’s father and mother Mahadev Ananda Sargar and Rajashree at their tea cart. (Credit: TOI Special Arrangement)
“There are many athletes whose lives changed after they won medals. The Government has been very supportive so far. I want to help my parents. I don’t want my father to run the ‘paan’ shop anymore. They have made a lot of sacrifices for me. I owe everything to them. I dedicate my medal to them. this is just a beginning for me and I know I still have to go a long way,” an emotional Sanket further shared with TimesofIndia.com from Birmingham.
Sanket dominated the snatch round but he could attempt only the first lift in the clean and jerk round as he picked up an elbo
w injury and was in immense pain. He failed to lift 139kg in his second and third attempts.
Malaysia’s Bin Mohamad Aniq lifted 142kg in his third and final clean and jerk attempt to snatch the gold away from Sanket, by just a kilo.
Sanket Sargar (Reuters Photo)
“Who wants to get injured? No athlete wants that. But injuries and sports go hand in hand. I was confident of winning the gold but when I got injured, I left everything to fate, but the gold was not to be. Not just me, my coaches were also upset.
I was angry. They also expected gold from me. In the end, they gave me confidence and motivated me to go for gold in the upcoming tournaments,” Sanket further told TimesofIndia.com.
Sanket believes the injury he suffered will keep him away from the sport for some weeks, but his confidence is not shaken.
“The reports are yet to come and I believe it is a fracture. I will have to take rest and recover from this injury. My main targets now are the Asian Games and the Paris Olympics. I have been given a big platform and I have performed. I am sure I will win an Olympic medal for my country,” a confident Sanket signed off.