National Games 2023: Harjinder Kaur battles back pain to win weightlifting gold
The 27-year-old hopes that helps her find a job and better sponsors.
“Punjab’s Harjinder Kaur has been battling back pain for a while, and most other weightlifters would find it challenging to push themselves, fearing an aggravation of their condition.
However, for the 27-year-old, her immediate goal is to secure a job or sponsorship. She believes that she needs to maintain her performance level in every competition to make her case effectively.
On Friday, Harjinder used this thought as motivation, lifting a total weight of 201 kg with her best efforts being 88kg in Snatch and 113kg in the Clean and Jerk section. This remarkable performance earned her the gold medal in the women’s 71 kg category at the 37th National Games. Trupti Mane from Maharashtra (190kg) and P Umeshwori Devi from Manipur (189kg) secured the silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the event.
“I hope this medal will help me secure a job or sponsorship,” she said after winning the gold medal.
Born into a family of farmers in Nabha village, Patiala district, Harjinder initially tried her hand at athletics and kabaddi before settling on weightlifting in 2016.
She believed that her bronze at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games could open up opportunities for employment, but that did not materialize.
Earlier this year, Harjinder clinched the senior women’s 71 kg gold at the National Championships and has now added the National Games gold to her trophy cabinet.
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Harjinder acknowledges that she has come this far due to her family’s support but is uncertain about how long she can continue without a job.
“I have been trying for a job since the Birmingham CWG bronze, but it’s been close to a year and a half now, and there hasn’t been any progress on that front. Fortunately, I have made it to the national camp where all my dietary requirements are properly monitored, which is invaluable support. However, in terms of employment, there hasn’t been any progress as of yet,” she stated.
Regarding her injury, she said, “I will have to take care of my back, as it has been bothering me for quite some time. Even today, there was stiffness in my back. I will need to address this issue before preparing for the national championships in January.”