Highlights Sathish Sivalingam
- A young boy from Vellore Tamil Nadu sets on an extraordinary journey at the tender age of 13. He has great dreams in his eyes and the support of his humble family. Sathish Sivalingam
- He outshines his opponents and proves his mettle by winning the gold medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. With this achievement, he captures the attention of the entire country.
- He is none other than the soft-spoken weightlifting champion, Sathish Sivalingam!
- After winning top honors at two consecutive CWGs, Sathish has set his eyes on the Asian Games 2018. After seeing his record, it is obvious that he prefers only gold! We are very confident that he will make India proud by bringing the gold at the Asiads as well.
The Asian Games 2018 are just around the corner and all Indian fans are excited for the mega event. India is competing in 36 sports and Neeraj Chopra is going to be the flag bearer. While the athletes are busy perfecting their techniques and being in their top form, enthusiastic fans are busy discussing who the medal prospects are! Of course there will be some surprises and some unknown names will make headlines.
Weightlifting hasn’t really been a medal churning discipline for India. There have been some medalists at Commonwealth Games, but the record at the Asiads has been pretty dismal. 26-year old Sathish Sivalingam is making his mark in this field predominantly dominated by women in the recent years.
Sathish Sivalingam – Golden Boy of Weightlifting
Sathish first grabbed the attention of media at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. He continued his medal-winning streak at the Commonwealth Championships as well as at the recent Gold Coast Games. The journey hasn’t really been all that smooth for this humble lad from Tamil Nadu, but it has just begun. With his sight firmly set on the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and numerous gold medals in his kitty, Sathish is sure to give his best performance at the Asiads.
We take a sneak peek into the life for this weightlifting champion and try to understand the factors that shaped him into one.
Name: Satish Kumar Sivalingam
Date of Birth: 23 June 1992
Place of Birth: Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
Parents: Sivalingam and Deivanai
School: Government Higher Secondary School, Sathauvachari
Weight: 77 kg
Sport: Weightlifting (77 kg)
Did You Know?
The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, Yogeshwar Dutt, is a huge inspiration for Sathish. He is also a big fan of Greek weightlifter Pyrross Dimas.
Sathish was born in a humble family from Sathauvachari village near Vellore in Tamil Nadu. His parents Sivalingam and Deivanai encouraged him to pursue weightlifting and are his biggest supporters.
In fact, his father was a national-level weightlifting champion and has won gold at several competitions. He worked in the Indian Army but later joined Vellore Institute of Technology as a security officer to make ends meet.
He started training Sathish at the age of thirteen. Sivalingam missed out on international recognition, but his son fulfilled his dream for him.
His mother, Deivanai has always been extremely proud of her son. In an interview with the Indian Express, she said,
“He always returns with a medal. Most of them were gold medals. Before each competition, my husband advises our son what to do.”
After learning all the basics of weightlifting from father, Sathish later enrolled at Atlas Weightlifting Training Centre.
Eventually, he joined the National Institute of Sports in Patiala to further develop his skills. He solely focused on his training for four years with just one aim – the Commonwealth Games.
Sathish has been very disciplined about his training from the beginning and except Sundays, never missed a single session.
He is sponsored by GoSports foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides financial aid and training assistance to Olympic and Paralympics candidates. He is registered under the Rahul Dravid athlete mentorship programme.
Work and Education
Sathish did his schooling from the Government Higher Secondary School in Sathauvachari and took admission for BA in History at Abdul Hakeem College in Melvishram.
Unfortunately, he had to drop out of college in the third year as he landed a job in the Southern Railways. He started working there as a clerk.
Sathish Sivalingam – The Golden Journey
Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018
Sathish was extraordinary at the 2018 CWG in Australia. He showed immense strength in spite of a thigh injury that was making normal actions painful. Not just that he finished with a total effort of 317 kg (144 kg snatch + 173 kg clean and jerk) and went on to win his second Commonwealth gold medal. He has been registered in the Indian Sports history as, he is the first ever male Indian weightlifter to achieve this amazing feat.
He just took two attempts at clean and jerk as he didn’t want to aggravate the thigh injury. With exceptional results of169 kg and 173 kg, another attempt wasn’t needed anyway.
His three snatch attempts were 136 kg, 140 kg, and 144 kg. With a brilliant combined score of 317 kg, he triumphed over Jack Oliver from England (312 kg) and Francois Etoundi (305 kg) from Australia.
Since he wasn’t very hopeful of a medal due to the injury, the feat was all the more special. Sathish stressed the lack of physios or masseurs, and how that limits the performance of an athlete. He says,
“I didn’t want to touch that level because I still need to undergo rehabilitation. The fact that the access to our physio was limited made it all the more difficult. I just hope that we get a physio with us at the Asian Games.”
It is really sad that bureaucratic issues are affecting India’s chances at international competitions. We cannot let such issues obstruct our champions, especially at such important platforms. Time and again, talented athletes have had to face such issues.
Sathish did receive a lot of love from the entire country and support from various parts. Twitter was flooded with encouraging tweets for the sportsman.
Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014
The Glasgow Games were double special for the Indian weightlifting team as both the top honors were ours. While Sathish won the gold with a total lift of 328 kg, Ravi Kumar Kautulu won the silver with a total lift of 317. Australian Francois Etoundi had to settle for the bronze.
Sathish lifted 149 kg in snatch and 179 kg in clean and jerk lifts. The team had trained in Birmingham to get acclimatized to the weather before the competition and that really helped both the weightlifters.
Sathish instantly became a weightlifting hero with this achievement. He was welcomed back in Vellore by hundreds of people and taken on a winning rally in an open vehicle. It was an overwhelming experience for Sathish and a proud moment for his parents. He was also awarded 50 lakh rupees by Jayalalithaa for his extraordinary achievement.
Rio Olympics 2016
Sathish Sivalingam qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after topping the selection trials. He lifted a total of 336 kg (151 kg in snatch and 185 kg in clean and jerk) at the trials.
However, he could lift only 329 kg (148 kg in snatch and 181 kg in clean and jerk) at the main event and finished 11th overall.
Sathish has had a very successful run at the Commonwealth Championships as well. He has won the yellow metal at 2012, 2015, and 2017 championships in the 77 kg category.
The Road Ahead for Sathish Sivalingam
Sathish gives a lot of credit to the coaching staff led by Vijay Sharma for his stellar performance in recent years. The Commonwealth record has been absolutely golden for him, but now he is looking forward to adding more medals in his kitty. Though he couldn’t get close to a podium finish in the Rio Olympics, the exposure has taught him a lot. The Asian Games in Jakarta will be the perfect opportunity for him to test himself.
The Asiads are considered to be harder than the commonwealth games. Hence, Sathish will have to bring his A-level game now. The youngster is completely focused and here’s what he has to say,
“I hope to do even better in the Asian Games because there is a gap now. Earlier Asian Games used to come within 20-25 days of CWG, which didn’t give us enough time to prepare. But this time I have got time to prepare and be fully fit now.”
The timing is perfect, he has recuperated from his thigh injury, and he is in top form, both physically and emotionally. We are very confident that Sathish will come home with a medal!
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