Early Life of Rajinder Singh Rahelu
Rajinder Singh Rahelu was born on 22nd July in the year 1973 in Mehsampur village, Jalandhar district, Punjab, in a poor dalit family. He is an Indian Paralympic powerlifter who won a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in the 56 kg category.
Career of Rajinder Singh Rahelu
Rajinder Singh Rahelu represented India at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, finishing fifth in the final standings. He is Arjuna Award recipient. Rajinder Singh Rahelu represented India at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, United Kingdom where he failed in all his three attempts at 175 kilograms (386 lb). After finishing higher secondary education, Rajinder Singh Rahelu chose not to continue his education further. Rajinder Singh Rahelu decided to pursue power lifting following encouragement from his friend Surinder Rana, who himself is a power lifter, in 1996. Rajinder Singh Rahelu lifted 70 kg on his first bench press attempt and within six months he was able to lift 115 kg. Rajinder Singh Rahelu won his first ever title in power lifting in 1997 at the Punjab Open Meet. In August 1998, he won National Power lifting Championship held in Hyderabad.
Rajinder Singh Rahelu in International Arena
Rajinder Singh Rahelu competed in the 56 kg category at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens of Greece. Rajinder Singh Rahelu finished fourth in the final standings after lifting a total weight of 157.5 kg. However, this position was later upgraded to a third-place after Syrian lifter Youseff Younes Cheikh, bronze medallist of the event, was disqualified due to doping. In doing so, Rajinder Singh Rahelu won the first ever medal for India in the power lifting event of the Paralympics. In 2006, he was conferred by the President of India the Arjuna Award, India's second highest sporting award.
Rajinder Singh Rahelu in 2008 Summer Paralympics
Rajinder Singh Rahelu was one of the two Indian competitors at the 2008 Summer Paralympics. Rajinder Singh Rahelu participated in the power lifting event. He managed to lift a total load of 170 kg putting him at position fifth, behind Polish Mariusz Tomczyk, out of thirteen contenders in the final. Rajinder Singh Rahelu won silver in 2014 Commonwealth Games, with a total lift of 185 kg.