Harshada Sharad Garud on Monday became India’s first-ever weightlifter to secure a gold medal at the IWF Junior World Championships in Heraklion, Greece.

Harshada, 18, asserted the yellow metal with a total effort of 153kg (70kg+83kg) in the women’s 45kg category, opening India’s record on day one of the tournament.

The 70kg effort in snatch pocketed Harshada a top-of-the-podium finish whilst she was second-best in the clean and jerk section, behind Turkey’s Bektas Cansu (85kg), who secured silver medal with an overall effort of 150kg (65kg+85 kg).

“I am so happy, I can’t comprehend what’s happening, I am struggling to express my happiness right now. It will take some time to sink in,” a joyful Harshada notified.

Harshada, who had triumphed the 2020 Khelo India Youth Games U-17 girls’ title, took up weightlifting 6 years ago as a 12-year-old on the urge 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,” Harshada stated.

Hincu Teodora-Luminita of Moldova grabbed the bronze 149kg (67kg+82kg) in the non-Olympic category.

The other Indian in the field, Anjali Patel ended 5th overall with a total effort of 148kg (67kg+81kg).

Medals are awarded separately for snatch, clean and jerk, and total lift in continental and World Championships. However, just one medal – for total lift – is awarded in the Olympics.

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