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Weightlifter Harshada Makes History By Becoming India’s First Junior World Champion

On Monday, Harshada Sharad Garud, a 18-year-old Pune girl, made history by becoming India's first junior world champion at the IWF Junior World Championships. She also became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the World Junior Weightlifting Championships 2022 held in Heraklion, Greece.

Harshada used her snatch performance (70 kg) to lift 153 kg (70 kg + 83 kg) and beat Turkey's Bektas Cansu by three kg in the women's 45 kg weight class. Hincu Teodora-Luminita (149 kg) of Moldova (Eastern European country) finished third.

With Harshada's win, India's gold medal account has been opened on the very first day of the competition at the IWF Junior World Championships.

According to reports, in 2020, Harshada won the Khelo India Youth Games title and the Asian Championships bronze medal with a score of 139 kg.

Another Indian competitor, Anjali Patel (snatch 67kg, clean and jerk 81kg), finished fifth with an aggregate of 148kg. She got tied with Indonesian Najla Khoirunnisa. They were both one kilogram lighter than Hincu, who finished third.

Harshada achieved clean lifts in all six attempts in Greece, the only one to do so in an eight-lifter field that did not include the sport's powerhouse China, which won eight medals, including seven golds, at last year's Tokyo Olympics.

Harshada's Inspiration

Harshada began weightlifting as a 12-year-old at the insistence of her father, Sharad Garud, who was a state-level weightlifter himself.

She and the rest of the Indian contingent for the junior world championship were trained for a month at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, prior to the event. The kids had the opportunity to meet and interact with senior weightlifters such as Olympic silver medalist Mirabai Chanu.

Other Details

Along with Harshada and Anjali Patel, two more Indian weightlifters won medals, giving the best start to India in the World Junior Weightlifting Championships.

Late Monday night, Gyaneshwari Devi and V. Rithika won silver and bronze medals in the women's 49 kg weight category. Gyaneshwari completed 156 kg (73 kg in snatch and 83 kg in clean and jerk), while Rithika completed 150 kg (69 kg in snatch and 81 kg in clean and jerk). Indonesia's Windy Aisah won the gold medal. She completed 185kg in total (83kg, 102kg).

Story first published: Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 16:30 [IST]
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