With his mother’s good-luck charm by his side, weightlifter Thakur completes hat-trick of CWG podium finishes


Vikas Thakur kissed a sacred thread on his forehead just before he squatted for his second clean-and-jerk lift in the 96 kg weight class medal round on Tuesday.

The thread was given to him by his mother, Asha, who feared Vikas’ well-being. Thakur, after all, had suffered multiple injuries during his career, especially in the last four years, and this, his mother believed, would act as a good-luck charm and ‘protect him from an evil eye’.

On Tuesday, Thakur not just emerged unscathed and free from injury, but also completed a hat-trick of Commonwealth Games medals. The 28-year-old’s second clean-and-jerk lift of 191kg helped propel his overall total to 346 kg (155 snatch, 191 clean and jerk), which was enough to win a silver medal after Samoa’s Don Opeloge demolished the field by lifting a Games Record 381kg, 35 more than the Indian.

As Thakur stepped on the podium in Birmingham, his family in Ludhiana broke into wild celebrations. “Vikas always tells us that injuries are like jewelry for players. But as a mother, I get worried. He has seen some injuries in the last four years including a shoulder injury, and hence I got him a sacred thread to tie on his forehead,” Asha says.

Thakur picked up the sport at their home in Ludhiana’s Railway Colony in 2003. He’d lift iron bars and weights at home, which his father Brij Lal Thakur, a former volleyball player, used. Thakur Sr, a Railway guard, sent his son to the town’s weightlifting centre two years later, where he learnt the technique under coach Parvesh Sharma.

Family members of Vikas Thakur celebrate at home in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Thakur won the silver medal in the men’s 96 kg event with a total lift of 346 kg at Birmingham. (Express Photos by Gurmeet Singh)

Within years, Thakur began to dominate junior-level competitions at national and international levels but it was the Asian Junior bronze and a silver medal at the senior Commonwealth Championship that would help him break into the national senior team.

Thakur’s first medal in the Commonwealth Games came in Glasgow in 2014, when he claimed the silver medal in the 86kg category. The next four years would see Thakur shift his weight categories and he went on to win three national titles while consistently managing podium finishes at international competitions, especially the Commonwealth Championships and Commonwealth Games. Last year, he won the bronze medal in the Commonwealth Championships in Tashkent with a total lift of 339 kg including 150 kg in snatch and 189 in clean and jerk.

Family members of Vikas Thakur celebrate at home in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Thakur won the silver medal in the men’s 96 kg event with a total lift of 346 kg at Birmingham. (Express Photos by Gurmeet Singh)

Thakur’s father said the focus now is on guiding young lifters at the centre where he trained, as much as competing himself and winning medals. “When he started, the conditions were very bad. Yet, he did not complain,” Brij Lal says. “Post his medal in Glasgow and Gold Coast, he helped the younger kids training at the academy. Whenever he visits home from the national camp, he is always guiding junior players by teaching them techniques and sharing his experiences.”





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