Hyderabad: Ragala Venkata Rahul, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist from last year, made a strong comeback from the injury layoff to lift silver in the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship in Apia in Samoa on Friday.
The 22-year-old former Telangana State Sports School student, who trained under coaches Manikyala Rao and SA Singh lifted 145 kg, in snatch and 180 kg in clean jerk to amass a total of 325 kgs for the second place, losing the gold by 14 kgs in the 86kg category.
However, given that he had a two-month break because of the back strain he sustained after the Senior Nationals in last March, it is a credible show. “I was hoping to win a medal for sure. As I am coming back from injury, it was a big difficult to win the gold. But I was confident of a medal. I am happy that I have done well. I had to compete in the tournament,” he added.
Speaking about his injury after the Senior Nationals, he said, “I suffered a knee injury after my Commonwealth Games gold and had to take two months rest. Later after Senior Nationals, I suffered back strain. I had to take two months’ rest. I joined the Indian camp in Melbourne on June 5 and trained hard for this tournament. The first two weeks were tough, so I was working on my strength training. Later, I started training hard. I trained five times in a day to get ready for this event,” he added from Samoa.
Rahul, whose personal best lift is 156 in snatch and 195 in clean and jerk, is now training his sights on upcoming World Championship scheduled to be held in Thailand in September. This also being one of the qualification tournaments for next year’s Olympics, the Railways’ employee is targeting to lift 360 kgs with 160 in snatch and 200 in clean and jerk.
“With World Championships scheduled in September, we will go to Thailand for a month for training. I am focusing on lifting 360 kgs so that I can be in top three of four in the world. That will help me qualify for the Olympics next year,” he added. There are six tournaments from which the points will be accumulated and considered for Olympics. He had competed in Egypt Cup in Thailand and this tournament in Samoa is the second one. “The points from these two tournaments will be added to my points form next three tournaments – Asian Championship, Commonwealth Championship and World Championship next year. The total points will be considered for Olympic qualification. So I am working hard to improve my lift,” he added.
Meanwhile, A Siva Rama Krishna Yadav, also a former student of TSSS, and a current trainee of YSR Sports School in Kadapa, had won a gold in the youth category and a silver in the junior category. His lift of 264 kgs (118 kg in snatch and 146 in clean and jerk) doubled the joy. The 17-year-old is over the moon as it was his first international tournament and returned with a gold. “Though this is my first international tournament, I was very confident of a medal. But winning gold was something else. So I am very delighted. Rahul anna (brother) is an inspiration to us. He is our senior and we always look up to him,” he added.