Satish Sivalingam: living his father’s dream

Posted on July 29, 2014


Sathish Sivalingam displays with Gold medal along with Ravi Kumar Katulu (Silver) and Australia's Francois Etoundi (Bronze) in Glasgow.  AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL

Sathish Sivalingam displays his Gold medal along with Ravi Kumar Katulu (Silver) and Australia’s Francois Etoundi (Bronze) in Glasgow. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL


As dawn arrived on Monday, the Sivalingam household had spent a sleepless night celebrating the exploits of their elder son Satish. The 22-year-old weightlifter, a native of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, had rewritten the Commonwealth Games record en route to winning the Gold medal in the 77 kg category event.

When Satish clinched a Commonwealth medal in his maiden outing in Glasgow, he also fulfilled his father N Sivalingam’s long-cherished dream of winning a medal in an event of this stature.

Satish had lifted 149 kilograms in the snatch lift (and a total of 328 kilograms) to break the mark of 148 kilograms set by Nauru’s Yuko Peter in 2010.

The 48-year-old Sivalingam, a former Naik in the Indian Army, was a weightlifter himself winning Bronze in the Junior Nationals in the 1980s. But he could not convert his potential at the national level.

“I wanted my son also to take up the sport and he always showed the interest right from his childhood. He has had a gradual rise and now it gives me immense pride that he has bought laurels to the country. He has helped me realise my dream. He showed a lot of patience under pressure to beat his teammate Ravi Katulu (who bagged the Silver medal),” Sivalingam said.

To ensure his son always got the required support, Sivalingam took up a job as a security guard for a monthly salary after he left the Army in 2001.

“My pension was not enough to support the house and Satish’s requirements. I wanted him to have the proper diet everyday which was very expensive. When I took up that job I used to earn R 3000, now I get around R 10000,” said Sivalingam who works at the Vellore Institute of Technology.

Satish was a resident of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu’s (SDAT) Weightlifting Centre in Vellore before taking up his current job as junior clerk in Southern Railway.

According to A Nagarajan, his coach at the SDAT, the bulk of the credit goes to the family support Satish got.

“His family toiled along with him and it has paid off,” said Nagarajan, currently posted in Chennai.

“According to the order of call, Satish’s turn came after the others since he kept increasing his weight. It gave him the idea of what was needed to be done. In that process he also broke the record by lifting 149 kgs,” said Nagarajan.

This article first appeared in Hindustan Times.

Posted in: Sports