From down with fever to a bronze: Gururaja tastes success in Birmingham

Gururaja had initially tried his hand in wrestling, but later moved to weightlifting — thanks to his coach Rajendra Prasad of SDM College, Ujire.

Published: 31st July 2022 09:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st July 2022 10:53 AM   |  A+A-

India's Gururaja in action during the Mens 61kg weightlifting at The NEC on day two of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

UDUPI: July 30, 2022, will be etched in the memory of the residents of Kundapur taluk forever as their local boy Gururaja Poojary won the bronze medal in the 61kg category in weightlifting by lifting a total of  269 kg in the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.

Gururaja, who hails from Vandse in Udupi’s Kundapur taluk, had won silver in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Gururaja had initially tried his hand in wrestling, but later moved to weightlifting — thanks to his coach Rajendra Prasad of SDM College, Ujire.

Gururaja, son of Mahabala Poojari, a lorry driver, and Paddu Poojari, showed interest in sports while studying in Vandse’s Government Higher Primary School.

His talent was noticed while studying in Mookambika High School, Kollur. The physical education teacher of the school, Sukesh Shetty, encouraged him to pursue wrestling.

Gururaja Poojary reacts after winning the bronze medal in the men’s 61kg category weightlifting event, at the Commonwealth Games in the UK on Saturday | PTI

Later, he finished his graduation in SDM College, Ujire, where Rajendra Prasad trained him in weightlifting. Speaking to The New Sunday Express, Gururaja’s elder brother Manohar said the entire family is on cloud 9.

“We are all happy that he has won the bronze... but we were expecting him to win gold. He recovered from fever just four days ago. He had body pain... otherwise he would have got gold,” Manohar, who works as a mason, added. His father Mahabala had a surgery eight months back and is recovering.

Before getting into the national team, whatever little Gururaja earned as prize money went into training.

Once he had got Rs 25,000 in a university event and with that money he had taken care of his diet and equipment.

His father was finding it difficult to support the family of eight.

Gururaja is fifth among six brothers.

Though Gururaja had tried to join the Army, because of his height (156 cm) he could not enter the services. He, however, was selected as air-craftsman in the Indian Air Force in 2014 as there was a height relaxation at 152 cm.

In 2017, Gururaja claimed a Commonwealth Championship bronze in Australia. Gururaja, who began weightlifting in 2010, had won gold in the Commonwealth Senior Weightlifting Championship, lifting a personal best of 249 kg (108kg+141kg) in Penang in 2016.

Earlier that year, he had won gold at the South Asian Games. “He wants to build a spacious house in the same locality and make his father happier,” said a neighbour.

India Matters


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp