written by Ranajit Bhattacharyya, a Pratham veteran
‘I was happy winning the medal. Every sportsperson dreams of a podium finish. I really cannot express my joy of winning a medal in words! I made a small mistake, otherwise, I definitely could have bagged gold. Many things were going through my mind as I entered the lifting arena, after all this was my maiden Nationals’.
Thus spoke diminutive Gautam Kumar! All of 5 feet, he lifted 177 kg, in the 49 kg category at the recently concluded National Weightlifting Championship held in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. 18-year-old Gautam won a bronze for this stellar performance.
A native of Bhithiharwa village of Gaunaha block, West Champaran district, Gautam was spotted by Pratham Education Foundation’s Sumit Pandey, a sports trainer, who moved with the Pratham team to Gaunaha block of West Champaran, when Pratham collaborated with DMI, Patna to work towards overall social development of a cluster of 13 villages of Gaunaha in 2017.
Sumit Pandey, our sports trainer was impressed with Gautam’s precocious ability the moment he saw him lift weights in Bhithiharwa Buniyaadi Vidyalaya. He was just 14, and for his age, weight and height his lifting ability was phenomenal. Sumit took him under his folds and nurtured him to join the Eklavya Vidyalaya in Sitamarhi. Gautam now trains in Kankarbagh Sports Complex and also stays there. He aspires to represent India soon.
‘A Guru’s joy has no bounds when his pupil attempts to reach the pinnacle of success and achieves it. Today, Gautam the champion lifter was welcomed at his ancestral village in Bhithiharwa with great fanfare. I have never seen such joy and enthusiasm amongst the youth and children of the village. And bestowing such respect, which will be remembered for a long time! The seed that was sown by Pratham Education Foundation, has gradually turned into a sapling. Today, Pratham’s exemplary work in this area is being lauded by all’ said a beaming Sumit Pandey!
Many congratulations to Gautam and Sumit from Pratham family!
Sumit with his ward Gautam
Gautam with Mirabai Chanu