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FOLLOW: Live – Commonwealth Games 2018: Day 4
Once Canada’s Andreanne Messier finished fourth with a total lift of 211 (95 in snatch, 116 in clean & jerk), all eyes shifted to Punam, Fiji’s Apolonia Vaivai and England’s Sarah Davies. After Vaivai lifted 116, Punam stepped out and lifted 118 to put herself in place for gold; however, a fumble in her second lift left England’s Sarah Davies to attempt 119kg. That she did in stunning manner to push Vaivai down to third place, and a failed attempt meant the Fijian could only settle for bronze.
India’s schedule at Gold Coast CWG on Day 4
A sensational final lift took Punam to 222 and gave Davies a target of 128 to claim gold. As soon as the England lifter slipped while trying to complete her lift, the cameras panned to a beaming Punam who became India’s fifth gold medal winner at the CWG.
Davies took silver with a total lift of 217 (95 in snatch, 122 in clean & jerk) and bronze went to Vaivai who finished with 216 (100 in snatch, 116 in clean & jerk).
Born in the village of Chandmari near Varanasi on July 9, 1995, Punam overcame financial difficulties to realise her dream of representing the country with help from her sister and grand uncle. Her elder sister Shashi first encouraged her to take up weightlifting, and her skills were hones at the SAI Centre in Lucknow. In 2013, after she was barred from participating at the junior nationals and asked to appear for a dope test, Punam contemplated giving up weightlifting but her grand uncle dissuaded her from doing so.
Punam subsequently won her first international medal at the Asian Junior Championships in 2004, and a few months later at the 2014 CWG in Glasgow, claimed bronze in the 63kg event. In 2015, Punam bagged gold medals (63kg) in both the senior and junior women’s categories at the Commonwealth Youth, Junior & Senior Championships.