Weightlifter Mahadev Vadar shines in Khelo India Youth Games

Mahadev Vadar was emotional after winning the 67kg weightlifting gold at the Khelo India Youth Games in Chennai on Sunday. His mother called up to congratulate him and Vadar broke into tears. He recalled the sacrifices his mother made to support his sporting ambition.

Mahadev’s focus now is on bigger medals and wants to take the next big step into international competitions.

“I’d like to dedicate this to my mother and coaches. My mother has taken a lot of trouble, made a lot of sacrifices in bringing me up,” said Mahadev, after lifting 243kg (113kg snatch and 140kg clean and jerk) for victory.

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Mahadev was 13 when he lost his father and his mother brought him up. As a farm hand in Kolhapur, she earns 100-150 daily. Despite her meagre income, she not only paid for Mahadev’s education, but also got her two daughters married.

“I owe everything to my mother. After my sisters were married, I also moved to Balewadi Sports Complex (Pune) in 2019. She has been living all by herself,” he said.

Mahadev, who took up weightlifting after watching his school friends, says his mother initially didn’t like it. “She feared I might get hurt. When I explained to her how safe it was, she started supporting me,” he said.

He visits his mother only once a year. “I am either training or travelling for competitions. I spoke to her immediately after I won gold. She was very happy.”

His coach Ujwala Mane says Mahadev almost went back home. “At one point his mother wanted him to return as she was alone. But I convinced her that he needs to be here (Balewadi). I told her she needed to make such sacrifices if she wanted her son to make her happy,” Mane said.

Mahadev’s focus now is on bigger medals and wants to take the next big step into international competitions.

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