Weightlifter Nooh Dastagir Butt won on Wednesday first gold medal for Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games 2022 with a record lift of 405 kilograms in the United Kingdom city of Birmingham.

Nooh has set a new Commonwealth Games record by lifting 173kg in snatch in the 109+ kilogram category. Butt also set another record by lifting 232kg in clean and jerk. Overall, he lifted 405kg – another CWG record.

New Zealand’s David Andrew got silver by lifting 394kg whereas India’s Gurdeep Singh managed to win bronze by lifting an overall 390kg.

Earlier, In the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Butt had got a bronze medal in the 105+kg category. In the same games, Talha Talib also bagged bronze in the 62kg category.

In 2006, Shujauddin Malik won the only gold for Pakistan in the 85kg category in CWG’s weightlifting event. 

Meanwhile, Nooh told The Express Tribune that he wanted to do better than bronze from his last outing at the Commonwealth Games.

“I have to win a medal, better than bronze, for my father and my country,” Nooh had said before his event. He feels that defending a bronze medal is not good enough anymore.

“My father was really upset with me the last time I won bronze, he didn’t talk to me for a while, so my goal is to do better now. I just have one request. I want a lot of prayers from my fellow Pakistanis for this event.”

Nooh brought a bronze medal home from 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and before that he has been consistently winning silver and bronze medals at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships from 2015 till 2017, along with holding several national records, but now Nooh is mature and better at strategising.

He feels the year he took off has taught him a lot, mostly that winning is important for him and getting back on the feet is crucial even when the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and the government did not support him, despite being one of the best talents to come out of Pakistan.

He recalled that the rupture in his thigh muscle and recovery from it had been a battle for his entire family with no specialised doctors available in Pakistan for athletes and no support from the PSB or the POA.

“It was a dark time for me because not being able to compete was hard.

“I competed in the national events and the South Asian Games in 2019, but I was with an injury that was getting worse. I had to stop competing and training for a long time and we bore all the expenses of the treatment. My father and my mother took care of me and I can say that I am back because of them,” said Nooh.

In the last national championship, he lifted 175 kgs in snatch and 225 kgs in clean and jerk.

He wanted to compete in the qualifying rounds for the Tokyo Olympics as well but he contracted Covid-19.

“I can say that the stakes for the Commonwealth Games are so high for me because I want all these years of hard work – 12 to 14 years of my life – that I have put in to at least show here. I want to win Olympics too. I would have if I was fit enough, but the bottom line is to win and make my country proud, to finally see better results,” said Nooh.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif congratulated Nooh who provided this proud moment for Pakistan. 

JUDO BRONZE: Hours earlier, judoka Shah Hussain got Pakistan off the mark on the medals table when he won bronze in the men’s 90kg category at the Coventry Stadium.

The 29-year-old Shah Hussain, the son of Pakistan’s legendary boxer Hussain Shah, overwhelmed South African Thomas-Laszlo Breyytenbach by ippon — the highest score a fighter can achieve — in their bronze medal bout.

Shah Hussain wrapped up the contest in just under three minutes with a sankanku-jime, a chokehold that encircles the opponent’s neck and one arm with the legs.

It is the second Commonwealth Games medal for Shah Hussain, who finished with a silver in the men’s 100kg competition at Glasgow in 2014.

Shah Hussain, who is based in Japan, had earlier lost his quarter-final bout against Australia’s Harrison Cassar by ippon.

However, with just six competitors in the field for the -90kg category, he got a chance for bronze against the 43rd-ranked Breyytenbach.

Breyytenbach had a bye to the semi-finals, where he lost to eventual gold medalist Jamal Petgrave of England.

Petgrave overcame Remi Feuillet of Mauritius by waza-ari — the second-highest score in judo — in the final, while Cassar picked up the other bronze medal on offer.

HOCKEY: Elsewhere, Pakistan’s hockey team kept alive its hopes of advancing to the semi-finals from Group ‘A’ after they registered their first win of the campaign in their match when Rooman’s 55th-minute goal secured a 3-2 win over Scotland.

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