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Devoid of official fund, far away from attention; para power lifter Manpreet Kaur wins bronze in Asia-Oceania Championships

Indian para-powerlifter, Manpreet Kaur won a bronze at the 2018 World Para Powerlifting Asia-Oceania Championships. Manpreet lifted a weight of 73kg in 41kg class to become the bronze medallist from her country. But who is this Manpreet Kaur and what is this Para-Powerlifting all about?

INTRODUCTION OF PARA-POWERLIFTING IN INDIA
Vijay Munishwar with para powerlifters

Let’s go back to the 1990s, when Vijay Balchandra Munishwar– a sportsperson himself- thought of initiating a programme that would enable para sportsmen to achieve their dream. Munishwar thought of starting Para Powerlifting in India after he himself had a taste of success in the discipline at an event in Australia.

Though this sport is for the para-sportsmen, yet Para-Powerlifting is a bit different from other para-sports. While in other para-sports the athletes are classified according to their body disability, in Para Powerlifting the disability factor plays the secondary role. It is an adaptation of Powerlifting where athletes are classified as per their body weight. The only difference is that it tests the upper body strength of athletes where they have to lie in supine position on a bench and lift the weight. The only discipline here is Benchpress.

India has produced some talented para power lifters who have made this country proud in international circuit. Players like Rajinder Singh Rahelu, Farman Basha, Sachin Chaudhary, Sakina Khatun and others have regularly brought laurels for India.

ACHIEVEMENT OF MANPREET KAUR IN PARA-POWERLIFTING

Manpreet Kaur was attacked by polio at an early stage of her life and since then she has been wheelchair-bound. But the girl from Punjab never said no in her life. Manpreet successfully completed her academics and at the same time, even more successfully defended her sporting abilities. Her national triumph started in 2013 when she won the bronze medal at the National Championships in Pune. She lifted 54kg in under 45kg category. Thereafter, she won gold medal in National Championships in 2015 in Delhi. There she lifted 68kg in under 50kg weight category. In 2016, she again won the National crown in Bengaluru by lifting 63kg. On international field, Manpreet Kaur won a silver medal in July 2018 at the British Powerlifting Championship held at Coventry in UK.

Kaur’s bronze medal in Asia-Oceania Championships gave her an advantage to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. This Championships was a touchstone competition and the scores from this event will be taken into account for the Paralympics 2020.

Manpreet Kaur with Rajinder Singh

However, athletes like Manpreet Kaur are lucky enough to participate in this tournament. Vijay Munishwar anxiously said, “We don’t know what happened at the last moment as we did not receive any official fund. But thanks to sports management company Go Sports who funded some para athletes and thus Manpreet, Rajinder Singh and Jaideep managed to reach Japan.”

Kaur’s achievement is lauded by her coach Rajinder Singh. He was present at Manpreet’s moment of glory and cherished it to the extreme. Arjuna awardee Rajinder Singh who had won the bronze at 2004 Paralympics at Athens is extremely proud of his student. “Manpreet has raised the bar of performance. She is the only girl representing from Punjab and we all wish her good luck for her future,” Rajinder Singh ecstatically stated.

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