They may have been rivals since their junior days of weightlifting but India’s Gurdeep Singh and Pakistan’s Nooh Dastgir Butt share a cordial bond. The duo continued their rivalry at ongoing CWG 2022 in Birmingham in the men’s 109kg-plus class where Gurdeep won a bronze while Nooh broke record to clinch the gold medal.
The clip of the two congratulating each other right after the medal confirmations went viral on social media. Later, Nooh revealed how they partied together while dancing to the late Sidhu Moosewala’s songs.
“Gurdeep and I have been very good friends. After the gold, I first congratulated Gurdeep and later we did a small celebration where we danced to Moosewala’s songs,” Nooh told The Indian Express.
Nooh revealed he texted Gurdeep right after watching the news of Moosewala’s death. “When I saw the news of Sidhu Moosewala’s death, I messaged Gurdeep to confirm. At my home gym, where I train, I played songs like Jatt Da Muqabla and the recently released Song 295 to set the tempo for my training,” he said.
Nooh, 24, said the love he receives from India’s weightlifting community is unmatched. “I visited India twice and competed in Pune and Guwahati. The kind of love India has given me, no other country has given me. I have more fans from India than Pakistan in the weightlifting community. When I was leaving the hotel in Guwahati, the staff and volunteers were crying. It made me emotional,” Nooh said.
Gurdeep said conversing in Punjabi has helped them strengthen their freidnship. “Nooh and I first met in junior championships six years ago and would share tips about diet. Conversing in Punjabi obviously helped our friendship,” he said.
Nooh, who broke all three Games record — 173 in snatch, 232 in clean and jerk and the aggregate, termed India’s Mirabai Chani as an ‘inspiration’.
“We look up to Mirabai for inspiration. She has shown us that, we from the South Asian countries can also win an Olympic medal. We became so proud of her when she won the silver at the Tokyo Olympics,” he said.