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Bengaluru: Auto driver’s daughter breaks second national record in weightlifting

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An auto driver’s daughter, Anne Maria M T, has broken another national record after she won gold in the women’s 87kg+ category weightlifting at the second Khelo India University Games in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Maria, a post graduate student at Alva’s College in Moodabidri, is the daughter of Timothy, who works as an auto rickshaw driver in Thrissur, and Gemini, who is a state-level shot putter herself. 

Maria has reportedly excelled at both the movements tested at the games in the weightlifting spot: the clean and jerk, and the snatch. The clean and jerk is a composite of two weightlifting movements. During the ‘clean’, the lifter moves the barbell from the floor to a racked position across the deltoids, without resting fully on the clavicles. During the ‘jerk’, the lifter raises the barbell to a stationary position above the head, finishing with straight arms and legs, and the feet in the same plane as the torso and barbell.

Meanwhile the snatch is to lift the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion. Maria is said to have lifted a total of 230 kgs at the Jain University campus, including 129 kg in clean and jerk, while fellow competitor Manpreet Kaur lifted 128kgs and 101 kg in snatch.

Maria had won her first national record last month, when she performed a total lift of 231 kgs set at the Nationals. The two-time national record holder had previously told media that she was introduced to the sport while trying to lose weight. “My mother wanted me to lose weight so she asked me to start going to a gym. I was introduced to weightlifting in that gym and that’s how my journey started in the sport,” Maria had said, as per News 18.

She is said to have dominated the space in the competition by far, setting up a benchmark, as the runner up finished 41 kgs behind her.

Maria was reportedly coached by Meenakshi Sundaram, from the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru. Sharing her story of success, Maria reportedly told a leading daily news website that it was her mom who first encouraged her to take up the sport of weightlifting. She moved on to explore her skills at weightlifting quickly after trying powerlifting first, the report said.

Maria’s mother and brother are both said to be sportspersons themselves. Gemini, Maria’s mother, told the news website that she got up early every morning to packed her children’s lunch and take Maria to the SAI training centre in Thrissur. She was quoted as saying that she played and competed at the state-level in shot put but couldn’t make it big. Noticing Maria’s strength and height, Gemini reportedly took her to SAI for trials, where she got selected on her second attempt, Gemini said. Maria’s brother, Issac John, is also a weightlifter.

Another student from the same college, Alva’s, called Laxmi B bagged a bronze at the games. According to reports, Laxmi works part-time at a R R Nagar gym in Bengaluru as a trainer. A native of Bharamasagara village in Chitradurga district, Laxmi reportedly won Mangalore’s second medal in the women’s 55kg category. Laxmi told the leading daily that she was not encouraged to pursue her skill and was forced to move out of her house.

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