Punam Yadav, lifter form Dandupur, Benaras, Uttar Pradesh, has gifted India its fifth gold medal in Commonwealth Games, 2018 held in Australia. Leaving behind all the competitors in the women’s 69kg category. She has lifted herself upon the bronze medal; she won in 2014 in Glasgow with a combined effort of 222, 100 in the snatch and 122 in clean and jerk and took India’s rank to seven at the Gold Coast Games.
Punam, steered India’s Flag higher as she riveted and clinched a gold medal by lifting 122 kg in the clean and jerk category. This Yadav girl is the third women to win gold for India in the 69kg category at the CWG 2018.
She has crossed all the hurdles peacefully to clinch gold, beating poverty and some world’s best athletes. She started her career in weightlifting in 2011, but this was not at all easy for her. Her father is a small farmer, Kailash Yadav. So Punam also had to help her parents in tramping in the field along with them. Her parents never stopped her from fulfilling her dreams they all knew that she would do something different among all her seven siblings.
Her biggest inspiration has been Karnman Malleswari, who is the first Indian woman to have won an individual Olympic medal (bronze) at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
“When Karnman Malleswari won Bronze for the country, I wanted my daughter to win a medal for the country too. She started training in 2011. She was so good; she would manage to find time for household chores and farm work in addition to her training.” Kailash Yadav says.
He manifested that how their deprived and destitute background didn’t enable them to feed Punam with the diet which was needed at the time of her training and there were few days that Punam had to sleep on an empty stomach after an exhausting training session.
“But it wasn’t long until her guru, Swami Agdanand, sent her to social worker Satish Fauji, who helped her with finances. She started receiving Rs. 20,000 a month to spend on her training,” Kailash added.
After her intense training and hard work, she finally got a chance to represent India at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, 2014.
“When Punam won a medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, I didn’t even have enough money to distribute sweets. People used to taunt us when our girl went out to play. Today they greet us with respect,” says Punam’s mother, Urmila Yadav.
Now, she works as a senior ticket Collector in the Indian Railways, posted in Varanasi Cantt. Railway station also Punam has cleared all her family debts and has even built a new home on her own.
“My father took a loan at that time to support my training but now we repaid that after my medal. He doesn’t do anything apart from pooja paath at home and my mother is a housewife. Me and my sister, we run the finances of our house. We are a normal financially stable family. We were not that great some years ago. But we are alright now. I am working with the Indian Railways now,” says Punam.
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have”- Punam.