Sukhen Dey from Andul in Howrah realised his dream of clinching a Commonwealth gold at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow on Thursday. He had come very close to winning a gold medal in weightlifting four years ago at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, but had finished second in the men’s 56kg category.
The 25-year-old was determined to make amends this time and did so with a lift of 248kg -109kg in snatch and 139kg in clean and jerk.
“He (Dey) called me after the Commonwealth Games selection trials where he lifted a total of 253kg. He was confident of winning the gold in Glasgow. I’m very happy for him,” West Bengal Weightlifting Association’s former secretary Sailen Dapsi told The Indian Express.
He added that Dey’s next target would be winning a medal at the Asiad.
“Dey performed well in the 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou, China but missed out on a podium finish. Hopefully he will win a medal this year at Incheon, South Korea. He’s in terrific form at the moment and must make it count,” he said.
Dey’s father Manik Chandra, mother Mina and elder brother Soumen witnessed his feat on TV. Now they’re waiting for his arrival after the tournament.
“We’ve got used to living without him. He left home as a teenager to join the Army. It was at the Pune Army Camp where he flourished as a weightlifter,” said Soumen.
Dey started his journey at the nearby Kishore Bayam Samity under Ashok Majhi.
In 2005, he went to Kerala for the National Sub-Junior Tournament and was spotted by an army officer who offered him a job and took him to Pune.
“The offer came at the right time. We are a lower middle-class family. My father is a small-time businessman and Sukhen needed that opportunity to prosper. Weightlifting is not a very cheap sport and at the Army Camp he got all the modern facilities. The army job has taken him away from us, but we don’t have any complaint. He has won a gold medal for the country and we are proud of him. We will give him a fitting reception,” said Soumen.
The Indian weightlifters shone bright at Glasgow on Thursday, bagging four out of six medals to start the tournament on a very positive note.
Dey led the charge and his achievement was a huge moment of pride for the entire Bengal sporting fraternity.