With songs from Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala playing in his ears, Indian weightlifter Vikas Thakur was able to perform as well as he did in the Commonwealth Games.
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With Moosewala’s murder, the first thing Thakur did after winning his third CWG medal on Tuesday was to pay tribute to his idol. His strong performance lifted a total of 346 kg (155 kg+191 kg) to finish second in the men’s 96 kg event.
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Thakur, coming from the Rajput community in Himachal Pradesh, said that the Punjabi ‘thapi’ (thigh-five) was a tribute to Sidhu Moosewala.
On May 29, Punjab rapper-politician Harpal Singh was killed outside Mansa. He was 28 years old.
“He did not eat for two days,” said Thakur at PTI after winning his second CWG silver.
Not only this, as his fan-made poster of him standing beside Sidhu Moosewala on his Instagram account.
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Thakur had won silver at the 2014 Glasgow games, while at the 2018 Gold Coast games he had won bronze.
He said, “I’ve never met him but his songs will be with me forever. Even before competing in the competition, I was listening to his numbers. I will always be a big fan of his and he would always say ‘Jor bina patta de thapi bajdi na’ on the thigh five (you have to give it your all to achieve something).”
“He will always remain my all-time favorite singer. His songs are always on my phone. Happy or sad, he (his numbers) always keeps me going,” he said, adding that “Everybody Hurts” is his current favorite when he’s down.
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“I was thinking about that while doing the lifts,” he said.
He had a lift of 191 kg in his second attempt, while also edging out Fiji’s Taniela Tuisuva Rainibogi by three kg.
His parents tried more creative methods to keep him active after homework, including putting him into athletics and skateboarding.
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“I was always good with sports, so I would do my homework early and my parents wanted to make sure I did not get into trouble,” he says. His parents put him into sports and he tried a few like athletics, boxing, and finally weightlifting at the Ludhiana Club under CWG medalist Parvesh Chander Sharma.
Kumar’s 2010 CWG in Delhi made headlines when he set a new world record by lifting the weight of 69kg. Thakur was inspired by Kumar and broke his own world record of 124 kilograms.
Kumar, who is also a part of the show’s cast, encouraged all those who took to their cabins when the passage of time and practice enabled them to play.