Snimerdeep Sanghera and Jeenat Billen of Surrey’s Lions Weightlifting Club made Canada proud as they bagged silver and bronze medals at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship held at Pune, India, from October 11 to 16.
Canada sent only a three-member team. Alex Bellemare from Quebec was the only male weightlifter and he won a silver medal in the youth section.
Sanghera, who participated in both the junior and senior sections, won a silver medal in the former section and a bronze medal in the latter section.
Billen won a bronze medal in the youth section.
Makhan Sandhu, the famous head coach of Lions Weightlifting Club, who went as a coach with these athletes, expressed satisfaction at their performance. He told The VOICE that it was certain that yet another athlete, Prabdeep Sanghera, would have won a medal at the Commonwealth Championship, but she was not sent because she is going to participate in the World Weightlifting Championship in November. That competition is more important for Canada because it is a qualifier for 2016 Olympics for the Canadian team. In 2013, Prabdeep won gold in the junior section and silver at the Senior Commonwealth Championship in Malaysia.
Sandhu said there were a few other Canadian athletes like Prabdeep Sanghera who met the qualification standard and would have won medals at the Commonwealth Championship, but did not go because there was no funding available for this championship. In the beginning of the year, based on the priority and availability of funds from Sports Canada, the Canadian Weightlifting Federation allocates funds for various international competitions. However, the Commonwealth Championship was not on their priority list and as a result, athletes had to spend from their own pocket.
Sandhu thanked Bob Cheema from Bill Investment who paid for the air tickets of these girls. He also thanked Piara Singh Bhullar for his contribution towards their hotel costs in Pune.
Sandhu added: “Without the help of these sponsors, it would have been very difficult for the parents to send their kids to this championship.”
Sandhu also thanked fellow coaches Rajinder Mahey, Raghbir Sahota, Jaswant Barraich and Harnek Sanghera for their hard work in training these athletes up to this level.
Courtesy of: Indo-Canadian Voice