21st Commonwealth Games: Udupi celebrates its hero

Udupi/Mangaluru: The television set had been repaired only two days ago! Just in time for the family of Gururaj Poojary, tucked away in the village of Vandse in Udupi district about 15 kms from the famous Kollur Mookambika temple to celebrate on Thursday as their boy won the first silver medal for India in the 21st Commonwealth Games. When the 23 year old weightlifter bent his head to receive his medal, the villagers whooped with joy! It was as if they were being honoured!

Mahabala Poojary, Gururaj’s father and a rickshaw puller had been thrilled when his son received the prestigious Ekalavya award from the Karnataka state. But the icing on the cake was this hard won silver.

The family, which only recently had reason to cheer when he was honoured with the prestigious Ekalavya award by the Karnataka government, was confident Gururaj would win  a medal at the Commonwealth games.

Although Mr Mahabala, who once rode a rickshaw to support  his family of six and now runs a pick-up vehicle, admits he knows very little about weightlifting, he is happy for his son.

"Gururaja told me about the date and time of the game and so we watched it on television. We were happy to see him get the silver for the country," he told reporters, who made a beeline for his house.

Gururaja's brother, Manohar, who distributed sweets  among family and friends , recalled his brother’s journey to the top. “He was always interested in sports and athletics. In his college, Gururaja was drawn to weightlifting and kabaddi.

It was his teacher, who suggested that he should join SDM College in Ujire where special attention is given to sports and athletics. This proved to be the turning point, ” he revealed.

Gururaja's 10 year journey in weightlifting has seen him go from breaking the university record  to lifting the silver in the Commonwealth games, he notes.

"It is very interesting to see how he has achieved success step by step," nods his college coach,Rajendra Prasad, who received a call from Gururaja informing him about his win Thursday morning. The champ is expected to return home on April 12 to a grand welcome.

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Note from Kannada.Club :

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