With 3 top-of-the-podium finishes at the Commonwealth Games, our weightlifters have proven the kind of physical strength they have acquired over the years. However, it’s often lifting the weight of hopes that turns out to be more challenging, because it requires emotional strength that cannot be developed by waking up at the crack of dawn and going to practice. Circumstances catch one off guard, there is no time to prepare, and it is always the reaction to them that shapes people’s lives. 

With that thought in mind, it’s inspiring to think about what 20-year-old Achinta Sheuli has achieved in his life. 

Son of a rickshaw puller, Achinta did not have the means to dedicate himself to a sport, much less become the professional that he now has. In fact, it was due to the lack of money that his elder brother Alok had to give up on his dream of becoming a weightlifter. 

Things were always tough for the family but got especially challenging after the demise of Achinta’s father in 2013. That was when his mother took to tailoring while his brother got himself a job at the local gym.

Achinta would be present at both places. He would help his mother deliver the orders, and would support his brother at the gym while squeezing in some time for himself with the equipment. 

Alok already had the sensibility of an athlete and it did not take him too long to realise that his younger brother might have untapped potential. He introduced Achinta to weightlifting, the sport he loved so much, and supported him in the journey that saw him wearing a gold medal around his neck a few days ago.

After his victory, Achinta did not forget to mention this. 

In 2013 when my father passed away, my brother left the game to support our family. I draw my inspiration from him. He pushed me through my limits to pursue the sport as a serious career option. I have worked hard for this medal. A lot of sacrifices of my brother, mother, my coach, and the Army have gone into this medal (sic).

Medals, at the end of the day, are just pieces of metal. They become important because of what they represent. In Achinta’s case, the shining gold medal represents persistence shown during the long and tiring years of depravity that people should refrain from glorifying. It is not pretty to not have money. No one nurtures dreams with the intention of having them shattered.

As much as we want to think of the medal as ours, it belongs to Achinta and his family first. They will probably disagree, of course. 

Achinta participated in the men’s 73 kgs competition and bettered the CWG record in both snatch and clean & jerk events, to create an overall record of lifting 313 kgs in total. 

That’s an achievement almost unbelievable and it puts him shoulder-to-shoulder with Mirabai Chanu and Jeremy Lalrinnunga.

With the kind of talent he has, we are sure Achinta has a long way ahead of him, but for now, we hope that it’s a nice view from the top.

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