Rahul became India’s first-ever gold medallist in the 85 kg men’s weightlifting category
Rahul became India’s first-ever gold medallist in the 85 kg men’s weightlifting category

Rahul’s career began with his admission to Telangana Sports School in Hyderabad. New Delhi: Indian weightlifter from Stuartpuram of Guntur district Ragala Venkat Rahul lifted a combined total of 338 kg (151 kg in snatch and 187 kg in clean and jerk) in the 85 kg category to win India's fourth gold medal at the ongoing Commonwealth Games being conducted at Gold Coast, Australia. 

His win takes India's medal tally to six, which includes three other golds, one silver and one bronze medal, all in weightlifting. He further became the first Indian to win gold in the 85 kg weight category at the Games.

Earlier, Mirabai Chanu and Sanjita Chanu had won a gold medal each in the 48kg and 53 kg weightlifting categories, respectively. In snatch, his first attempt of 147 kg was higher than all his other competitors, a success that gave him an immediate lead. 

His second attempt of 151 kg was unsuccessful, but he soon bounced back in his third attempt to lift the same successfully, to go joint top with Samoa's Don Opeloge.

In clean and jerk, his first successful attempt of 182 kg put him in the lead again. He was equally confident in his next attempt, successfully picking up 187 kg to increase his lead. His third attempt was unsuccessful but was enough for him to finish on top of the podium. 

Rahul entered the Games as the massive favourite to take gold. At the Commonwealth Championships last year, he finished 19 kg ahead of Opeloge, who took silver. The gold at the Commonwealth Championships was only the latest prize in a successful career for the 21-year old.

Back in 2014, Rahul had become the first -- and to date the only – Andhra weightlifter to medal at the Youth Olympics, winning silver in the 77kg competition in 2014. He had followed that up with a gold in the Asian Junior Championships. It hasn't always been that easy for Rahul, who hails from Stuartpuram, a town in Andhra Pradesh with an outsized reputation for crime. 

It was his father Madhu Ragala, a former kabaddi player and weightlifter, who initiated him in the sport at a very early age. Forced to quit for financial reasons, he ensured his son started early. Despite his father's best efforts, money troubles hindered his progress at an early stage. 

Rahul’s career began with his admission to the Telangana State Sports School in Hyderabad.  A steady rise through the ranks saw him enter the national camp and subsequently medal at the Asian and World level.