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From a tailor to champion; Meet Achinta Sheuli gold medallist of CWG 2022

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Aug 09, 2022 4:00 PM

Read Time: 4 minute



Several medals won by the 20-year-old on his way to Commonwealth Games glory on August 7 are hung on a wall inside Achinta Sheuli's one-story tile-roof house in Deulpur, Howrah district. Achinta's family, who lived in abject poverty, couldn't afford two square meals per day, let alone a showcase to keep the medals dust-free.

Purnima Sheuli (43), who became a zari (embroidery) worker after her husband died in 2013, says she couldn't even afford a chicken meal for Achintya because they were in dire financial straits.

“When he was young, he had asked for a chicken meal. But we could not afford it. He cried a lot that day. But afterwards, he understood our financial conditions and never asked for such a meal again. He relied on starchy rice with coconuts. After he won the gold medal yesterday, he demanded that I must prepare his favourite starchy rice when he arrives home,” told Purnima, who earned Rs 700 per week to support her family.

Won India's third gold medal at CWG in Birmingham

Achinta won India's third gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on August 7 in the men's 73 kg weight division. The weightlifter won gold in spectacular fashion after setting a new Games record in his event. His path to glory, however, was not without difficulty.

His father, who passed away in 2013, was a van driver. Because of their financial situation, his mother began working as well.

Achinta’s elder brother, Alok (28), who had introduced Achinta to the world of weightlifting, sacrificed his own dreams and took up odd jobs to support his family.

“Despite our conditions, we never stopped supporting Achinta. We did everything to help him grow as a weightlifter. He had tremendous potential which is evident from his success till now. (On Sunday), we subscribed to a paid sports channel to watch him win the medal,” Alok, who along with Achintya also helped their mother in the embroidery work, told this newspaper. He now works as a contractual worker in the fire brigade department.

Achintya began weightlifting training in 2010

Achintya began weightlifting training with local coach Ashtam Das in 2010. After finishing fourth in the youth category of the 2014 national championship, he caught the eye of an Army Sports Institute coach, who offered the boy a spot at their Pune base.

First Indian male to stand on the podium

Achinta grew physically and made his mark in the sport thanks to three square meals per day. He won silver at the Asian Youth Championships in 2018 and gold at the Commonwealth Championships the following year. After winning silver at the Junior World Championships in 2021, he became the first Indian male to stand on the podium. Because of his success in the sport, he was also offered a job as a Havaldar with the Indian Army, which helped to alleviate some of his financial difficulties.

Das, who gives training to local talents free of cost, was seen visibly happy after Achinta’s success. “It was under my wing that he started his training in 2011. Just like his elder brother, he had enough potential. While his brother left the sport to support his family, Achinta continued with weightlifting. He was determined, focused and spirited. Today I feel so happy to see him win important medals. Now Olympics 2024 should be his target,” Das said.

Set new national records in clean and jerk in 2021

Previously, Achinta's best performances came in 2021, when he set new national records in clean and jerk and total weight of 316kg. He also qualified for the Commonwealth Games 2022 by winning Gold at the Senior Commonwealth Championships, which were based on the results of the IWF Senior World Championships.

Since last night, the celebration has not stopped in Deulpur. Locals, especially youngsters, have been playing drums and bursting firecrackers to celebrate his victory. Even people from nearby villages have turned up to congratulate the family. “It is a proud moment for all of us. Before today, no one knew the name of this place. Now, the entire country is aware of his native place. This will bring the focus on young talents who are now dreaming of following in his footsteps,” Sanjib Sheuli, a local resident, said.

Also Read: Commonwealth Games 2022: Complete list of India’s medalists

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