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Punam continues India's gold rush, Vikas adds bronze

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Punam continues Indias gold rush, Vikas adds bronze
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Gold Coast: Indian weightlifters remained a cut above the rest with Punam Yadav (69kg) adding a fifth gold medal and Vikas Thakur (94kg) picking up a bronze today in what has been a truly remarkable campaign so far at the Commonwealth Games here.

Yadav, who hails from Dandupur village in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, was a 63kg category bronze-medallist in the 2014 Glasgow Games. Today, she pulled off a personal best of 222kg (110kg+122kg) to claim the top spot ahead of England's Sarah Davies, who finished with 217kg (95kg+122kg).

Davies went for a 128kg lift in her final clean and jerk attempt in pursuit of gold but could not complete her attempt. The bronze medal was won by Fiji's Apolonia Vaivai with an effort of 216kg (100kg+116kg).

"I was expecting a good fight but from Fiji not England. I was a little nervous when Sarah went for 128kg in her final lift. She was capable of pulling it off," Punam Yadav said after the medal ceremony.

"But then it's all about fate, I got what was my destiny and she got what was her destiny. Thankfully our physio was allowed inside for some time for strapping my knee, I have slight pain there," the 22-year-old added.

Yadav had claimed a silver at last year's Commonwealth Championships, her first event after making the jump from 63kg to 69kg category.

Adding a dash of bronze to the collection was Thakur (94kg), who lifted a total of 351kg (159kg+192kg) on a day when Papua New Guinea's Steven Kari broke the Commonwealth as well as the Games record in clean and jerk for a total lift of 370kg (154kg+216kg).

Thakur faltered in his final two attempts in clean and jerk, aiming for a 200kg lift that would have fetched him a silver. The final attempt was especially messed up as he struggled to keep up with the statutory one-minute window he had to complete the lift.

Thakur, on the other hand, was quite cheeky about his bronze, which is a lesser medal compared to the silver he won in the 2014 Glasgow Games in the 85kg category.

"I had made a commitment to everyone that I would change the colour of my medal, I have done that at least," joked the 24-year-old.

"I was competing after just 10 months of regular training because I had to get my shoulder operated due to an injury," he added on a more serious note.

Yadav and Thakur's haul took India's overall weightlifting medal tally to five gold, a silver and two bronze medals so far, a performance made special by the fact that most of them nursed varying niggles and did not have access to a full-time physio owing to an accreditation goof-up for which none has taken responsibility so far.

Mirabai Chanu (48kg), Sanjita Chanu (53kg), Sathish Sivalingam (77kg) and Venkat Rahul Ragala (85kg) are the other gold-medallists, while Deepak Lather (69kg) is the bronze-medallist from yesterday. P Gururaja (56kg) has claimed the lone silver so far.

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