It was a day of celebration for Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune, as three of its cadets bagged gold at the South Asian Federation Games. Sambo Lapung and Ajay Singh bagged gold medals in weightlifting, whereas Pradeep Kumar won the medal in wrestling at Guwahati, Assam.
Lapung (18) hails from East Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh and was being scouted by an ASI team since 2010.
Due to his performance in the National Championship, Itanagar in 2011, Lapung was selected in the Indian Youth National Coaching Camp and subsequently went to Apia in Samoa for Youth Commonwealth Championship in 2012 where he secured second position.
In the same year, he attended 8th National Youth Weightlifting Championship in New Delhi where he won three gold medals.
He has also represented India in Asian Games held at Nanjing in China, where he secured fourth position.
Lupang has been trained under Hungarian coach Frakas Zoltan and has won over 17 gold medals, eight silver medals and five bronze medals in domestic and international competitions. At the competition, he participated in 69-kg weight category and lifted 281 kg, a record by a first timer participating in the senior category.
Singh (18) was the second one to win a gold medal by lifting 305 kg in the 77 kg weight category.
By achieving this feat, Singh crossed his previous record of lifting 298 kg in the 68th senior National Championship in December last year. Singh, who hails from Khudot village of Rajasthan, joined ASI in May 2009. He has been enrolled in Rajputana Rifles as Havildar in April last year.
The first competition of Singh’s career was 6th Youth Weightlifting Championship held at Yamuna Nagar in Haryana in January 2011 in which he participated in 56-kg category. Thereafter, he represented Rajasthan in 51st Junior National Championship in January 2015.
Trained under Slovakian Coach Juraj Gabala and Subedar Rajinder Singh, Singh has won two gold medals, four silver medals and a bronze medal so far.
Kumar (22), who was enrolled at the ASI in 2006, won the third gold medal for the institute, while competing in the 61-kg category. Kumar is a consistent performer and had also won a gold medal in the junior Asian championship that took place in Phuket, Thailand in 2013.
He has also won a gold in the Jr National Wrestling Championship, Chandigarh (2013) and 64th inter services wrestling championship in New Delhi in October, 2014.
He has been considered a prized asset by the Indian Weightlifting Association and is a favourite for having brought home a medal in the 2020 Olympics.