Junior World Championships: Lifter Harshada makes historyMay 3, 2022
Harshada Sharad Garud today became India’s first weightlifter to win a gold medal at the IWF Junior World Championships.
The 18-year-old Harshada claimed the yellow metal with a total effort of 153kg (70kg + 83kg) in the women’s 45kg category, opening India’s account on Day 1 of the competition in Heraklion, Greece.
Harshada’s 70kg effort in snatch was the best among the competitors, while she was second-best in the clean and jerk section, behind Bektas Cansu. The Turkish weightlifter took home the silver medal with an overall effort of 150kg (65kg + 85 kg). Hincu Teodora-Luminita of Moldova bagged the bronze 149kg (67kg + 82kg) in the non-Olympics category. The other Indian in the field, Anjali Patel, finished fifth with a total effort of 148kg (67kg + 81kg).
“I am so happy, I can’t comprehend what’s happening,” Harshada said. “I am struggling to express my happiness right now. It will take some time to sink in,” she added.
Harshada managed to pull off clean lifts in all her six attempts, the only one to achieve the feat in the eight-lifter field which did not see China’s participation.
In father’s footsteps
Harshada took up weightlifting six years ago as a 12-year-old on the insistence of her father Sharad Garud, who himself was a state-level weightlifter.
“My father was a state-level weightlifter. Although I never saw him in action, I always heard his stories and stories about him. I never thought of doing anything else,” said Harshada, who had won the under-17 title in the 2020 Khelo India Youth Games.
The Indian contingent for the World Championships had trained at NIS Patiala for a month. There the youngsters got to meet and interact with senior weightlifters, including Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu.
“We got to speak to all the seniors. I talked to Mira didi, asked her about her journey. It was great,” said Harshada.
Mirabai (bronze in the 2013 edition), Jhilli Dalabehera (bronze in 2018) and Achinta Sheuli (silver in 2021) are the other Indians who have won medals at the event.