Ever since Telugu lad Ragala Venkat Rahul won gold in the men’s 85 kg weightlifting category on Saturday at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Australia, his mobile has been buzzing incessantly with congratulatory messages.
Ask him how is he celebrating the victory and he replies, “I was taking calls the whole night and I am yet to go to bed (smiles). I’m yet to plan my celebration. It is really an emotional moment.” The 21-year-old adds, “This win is a result of years of hard work and practice. It means a lot to me as it has given me the boost to win more medals.”
Prod Rahul about his preparation before the competition and he reveals, “I had injured my knee a few months back and I wasn’t 100 per cent fit, but I didn’t want to lose the opportunity either. The night before the finals I was excessively thinking about the finals. I went with an open mind the next day and I am glad that I pulled it off.”
Admitting that he felt the pressure to perform, Rahul shares, “I felt the heat and that was because of my knee injury. But I was always confident that my determination would prevail. My coaches Vijay Sharma and Manikyala Rao also constantly motivated me to stay focused.”
The Guntur-born dedicates his victory to his parents. “My father is overwhelmed. My mother passed away two years back and as a token of her blessings, I have made her mettelu (anklets) as a locket that I always wear. I also have a tattoo of my parents’ photo on my chest,” he says, adding, “I used to discuss winning medals with my father. Being a kabbadi champion, he knows the value of sports and he constantly encouraged me and my younger brother Venkat (a national weightlifter), who is currently at the Patiala weightlifting camp.”
Interestingly, although Rahul struck gold at the international competition, he feels he could have performed even better.
“Last time the total weight I lifted was 351 kg and this time I wanted to make it 355 kg. But due to my knee injury, I ended up at 338 kg, so I am a bit disappointed,” he states.
Meanwhile, celebrations galore are taking place at his hometown as scores of people have been thronging his house to congratulate Rahul’s father.
“I really want to share these emotional moments with my family upon my return,” says Rahul, who is already eyeing the Asian Games....