Udupi: Well, Karnataka had all the reasons to celebrate as 16-year-old Damini Gowda and Gururaja (24), won gold medals at the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati on Saturday.
With the news of Gururaj bagging such an accolade, the happiness of a humble household of a truck driver, living in a remote village of Chittoor in Kundapur taluk of Udupi knew no boundaries.
For Mahabala Poojary and his wife Paddu Poojary, their son Gururaj has given them the best gift of their lifetime by winning gold in the 56 kg weightlifting category.
Journey of Gururaj to this level has not been devoid of hardships, struggles and financial glitches. But, his dedication and perseverance has paid off.
Mahabala Poojary is quoted in media saying how Gururaj, even as a child was interested only in sports and how as a father he managed to pool money fighting odds just to make sure that his son’s dreams never withered away.
Gururaja did his schooling at the Sri Mookambika Temple School and PU College in Kollur. During his PU days, he was interested in wrestling, and learnt it under his coach Sukesh Shetty in Kollur.
The turning point came when he joined the SDM College in Ujire, Dakshina Kannada, for his graduation. It was his coach Rajendra Prasad M. who encouraged him in weight lifting. He was then chosen for the post of aircraft-man in the Indian Air Force under sports quota. He has been undergoing training in Belagavi for six months.
Gururaj has attributed his success to his parents and his coach Prasad.