Vegetable mandi to CWG podium, bronze-medal-winning lifter Lovepreet's incredible journey

His father Kripal Singh is a tailor and owns a small shop in the village. Kripal Singh's meagre income was not enough to help his elder son pursue his dream.

Published: 03rd August 2022 06:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd August 2022 06:51 PM   |  A+A-

India's Lovepreet Singh at the Commonwealth Games.

India's Lovepreet Singh at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Pursuing weightlifting was not easy for Lovepreet Singh, who on Wednesday clinched the 109kg bronze at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

It all started when he saw a few youngsters from his village, Bal Sachander in Amritsar (Punjab) lifting weights. Lovepreet, who was around 13 years old then, was so attracted to the sport that he decided to pursue it as a career. But the biggest obstacle in his way was the lack of money.

His father Kripal Singh is a tailor and owns a small shop in the village. Kripal Singh's meagre income was not enough to help his elder son pursue his dream.

Lovepreet refused to be disheartened. He started helping wholesale vegetable vendors in Amritsar mandi to earn extra bucks thereby sustaining his weightlifting dream. Given the work he had chosen, he had to reach Mandi by 4am and rush back home by 6am to get ready and leave for training.

"My income was not enough and he knew that. So, he started working part time at Amritsar vegetable mandi. He used to earn around Rs 300 per day which he used to spend on his diet and other requirements," father Kripal told The New Indian Express.

The struggles continued for years but Lovepreet's hard work meant he started winning state-level weightlifting titles. One such title helped him land a job with the Indian Navy.

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"He appeared in the Indian Navy trials and got selected. He has been working as Havildar there for more than five years now. That helped him and us a lot," Harpreet Singh, Lovepreet's younger brother said.

Harpreet also said that his grandfather Gurnail Singh and uncles used to pool in money to make sure Lovepreet continued with his weightlifting training.

All the past struggles helped the 24-year-old lifter to a great extent at the CWG weightlifting platform as he started strongly by lifting 157kg in his first snatch attempt. He made it 161kg in his next attempt and went into the break by lifting 163kg in his third and last attempt. The effort placed him joint second with the Canadian lifter. Samoa's Jack Hitila Opeloge was first with the best lift of 164kg.

Things heated up in the clean and jerk section as Junior Periclex Ngadja Nyabeyeu from Cameroon and Aussie Jackson George Roberts-Young entered the fray with big lifts of 196kg and 190kg in their first respective attempts. Meanwhile, Lovepreet was steadily increasing his weights in the section. He first lifted 185kg and increased it by four kilograms in the next attempt. He breached the 190kg mark in his last attempt by registering 192kg that placed him at the top of the table for a brief period.

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However, the Cameroon lifter (160kg+201kg=361) and Samoa's Opeloge (164kg+194kg=358kg) leapfrogged him to finish first and second respectively. The Australian Jackson George Roberts-Young too attempted to lift 211kg, a Games record, in his bid to go past Lovepreet's overall lift of 355kg but couldn't succeed.

"The Aussie managed to lift 202kg, 12kg more than his first attempt. And when he registered 211kg for his last attempt, we all were worried. We thought it's quite difficult but in sports you can never say anything for sure. We all were relieved once the Aussie couldn't lift it," said Harpreet.


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