Intricate Embroidery to Powerlifting

Achintya Sheuli
Achintya SheuliEddie Keogh

Swami Chinmayananda says in one of His Geeta discourses:

'Here is a wonderful field for you to achieve and in achieving, do your duty, fight out the battle, let every arrow go and hit the point that you want to hit. Don't worry about the future, don't evaluate that their army is larger than our army, will we win? Don't distract your mind, keep your mind calm and serene, your anxiety must be to excellence, that is the goal. Learn to work thus with your mind where your hands are working. Be Here now and act’.

That is exactly what Achintya Sheuli, the 20-year-old athlete, did for our country in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games when he bagged a gold medal for India in the 73 kg class in weightlifting. Before becoming a two-time winner of the gold medal at the Commonwealth Championships, he had won the silver medal in the Junior World Weightlifting Championships in 2021. The victory brought India its third gold and sixth overall from weight lifting.

Achintya lifted 143 kg in the snatch event and 170 kg in the clean and jerk event, which resulted in him setting a new world record in the game by lifting 313 kg overall.

Behind his victory, though, there's a searing story of struggle. Born in Howrah district of West Bengal, Achintya lost his father, a daily wage labourer, in April 2013 and this resulted in him having to help his mother with embroidery work. His brother, a weight lifter himself, had to sacrifice his career and start working with the fire department for the sake of the family. But he also aided Achintya with his weight lifting career. Achintya had to toil hard just to meet his daily requirement of nutrient intake, just to get cooked eggs at the end of the day, he was required to work as a farm labourer and plant paddy.

Achintya was the typical lad who enjoyed playing sports out in the field and after seeing his older brother compete in weightlifting, he decided to try it too. Achintya started lifting weights in the year 2011 but the real exposure started in the year 2014 when he competed in the National Championship. However, he was unsuccessful in bringing home a medal but the championship showed him the way forward. In 2018, he competed in the Asian youth championships and won a silver medal and in the same year at the junior Commonwealth championships he won the silver medal.

The gold at the Commonwealth 2022 was not something he achieved easily; in fact, nobody expected him to win the gold medal after not making a proper lift in his second attempt.

Achintya focused on excellence. Achintya's coach, Mr. Vijay had given him the challenge of focusing on excellence after the second improper lift. That challenge from the coach would have been a motivating factor for Achintya to focus on excellence and not on the missed opportunities, not on the pressure being mounted on him by the other competitors. His mind was completely in sync with his hands. And that's how the entire country rose to their feet to congratulate the man who focussed on excellence.

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Chinmaya Udghosh