Popy Hazarika is an Indian female weightlifter with several medals in weightlifting. She works in Indian Railways.
Popy Hazarika was born on Tuesday, 8 December 1998 (age 24 years; as of 2022) in Namti Salkathoni village, Sibsagar, Assam, India. Her zodiac sign is Sagittarius. She practiced discus and javelin throw during her childhood in her village. She went with her friend Dimpy Dutta to a weightlifting training camp at Swahid Peoli Phukan College near her village and met the coach Duljit Boruah.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Weight (approx.): 60 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her mother’s name is Dipti Hazarika. Her father passed away due to an electric shock when she was 10 years old. She is the youngest of 4 sisters.
She started training under the coach Duljit Baruah in 2013 and improved significantly within a very short time. She weighed only 35 kgs when she started training and within a few days, started picking weight almost equal to her body weight. When she won the gold medal in the district meet in 2014, her coach Duljit Baruah said,
“Popy’s height was good at a young age and since she competed in athletics earlier, she did not face any difficulty in the running sessions before training. The main problem was lack of proper diet which hampered her weightlifting training initially. We would often contribute to get supplements for the kids. Even though there was only one set for training, she would train after the other kids left. When she became the district champion lifting 30 kg in snatch and 40 kg in clean and jerk, she kept the medal in her pocket to show it to her mother first.”
She was enrolled at SAI Training Centre, Golaghat after being selected in a talent hunt scheme. She trained under the SAI coach Om Prakash Kalyani at the Golaghat training centre. She won medals in many weightlifting competitions and after her medal in a state weightlifting competition, her coach Om Prakash Kalyani said,
“When she became state champion in the 48Kg category, she picked 50Kg in snatch and 60kg in clean and jerk. Her advantage was her height and the initial speed with which she lifted the bar. She was a natural athlete and would train on her own during running drills for building stamina. The only problem I faced as a coach was the need to motivate her constantly. We knew it was very tough for her family and like any youngster, she would also melt down. But then we would always talk about the next medal, which still remains the case.”
She started training at the national camp in Delhi and won many medals in senior competitions. National Chief Coach Vijeta Sharma said about her,
“Her main strength is that we don’t have to motivate her. She has seen so much struggle that she knows that she has to work hard. Her body weight was a bit less for her height as she did not get proper diet and supplements at a young age. So, our first task was to get her proper weight according to her height. She has an explosive speed in terms of technique but we needed to work on her second pull. As she spends more time in the national camp, I believe she will get more confident as well as move to a higher weight category, which will suit her even more according to her height.”
She met her idol Mirabai Chanu at the national camp and started training alongside her. She said about Mirabai,
“When I first came to the camp, it took me a few days to realise that I am getting the chance to train along with the likes of Mira didi. Seeing her practise with so much dedication motivates me and I observe her technique closely.”
She finished in 17th place in the 59 kg category of the 2021 World Weightlifting Championships held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and at 7th place in the 59 kg category of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
- 2014: District meet
- 2016: Assam State Weightlifting competition in the 48 kg category
- 2022: Senior Nationals in Odisha in the 59 kg category
- 2022: Singapore Weightlifting International Competition in the 64 kg category
- 2022: Khelo India Women Games at Nagrota, Himachal Pradesh in the 59 kg category
- 2018: Junior Nationals in Nagpur in the 59 kg category
- 2020: Senior Nationals in Kolkata in the 59 kg category
- 2021: Senior Nationals in Patiala in the 59 kg category
- 2021: Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in the 59 kg category
- 2022: 36th National games at Gujarat in the 59 kg category
- She won the Sports Achiever award for the Northeast Frontier Railway zone in 2022
- When she started training, she used to train for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening. There was only one equipment set for 12 children, so she would train after others left.
- In 2018, she almost quit weightlifting to join Assam Police to support her family. Remembering that moment, she said,
“Training kar kar ke thak gayi thi. Bus apni mother ke liye kuch karna chahti thi (I was tired training all the time. I wanted to do something for my mother). That’s why I seriously thought about giving the Assam Police recruitment a try before my friend Dimpi and coaches sat with me and made me think about my weightlifting career. I understood that it’s a long wait in any sport and if my mother can support four of us all these years, I could not leave weightlifting midway.”
- Her mother worked as a temporary cook at the village school at a salary of Rs2500 per month and worked occasionally in the rice fields on a daily wage of Rs150-200 to support her family.
- She shared balms, kits, and shoes with her friend Dimpy Dutta at SAI Training Centre, Golaghat, Assam and would travel by train to save money.
- Her coach Duljit Baruah sent her weightlifting equipment worth Rs53000 during the COVID-19 pandemic so that she can train regularly.
- She spent Rs23000 to do a pooja and arrange a village feast when she joined Railways in 2021.
- On 18 December 2018, she set up a national junior record by lifting 84 kgs in the Junior Nationals in Nagpur in the snatch type lifting in the 59 kg category and on 4 February 2020, she set up a national senior record by lifting 94 kgs in the Senior Nationals in Kolkata in the snatch type lifting in the 59 kg category.