Not often do friendship and rivalry co-exist in sports. Especially if the rivalry we’re talking about is between India and Pakistan, which has always been more of a spectacle, where on-field action gets drowned against the force of toxicity and hatred. 

This is where the camaraderie between Gurdeep Singh and Muhammad Nooh Dastgir Butt – weightlifters from two Punjabs on either side of the Indo-Pak border – comes as a breath of fresh air.

Gurdeep and Nooh were in action during the men’s +109 kg weightlifting final at Commonwealth Games 2022, and both of them walked off with a medal.

Gurdeep lifted a combined total of 390 kg to become the first Indian to bag a medal in the heavyweight category. He achieved a clean and jerk attempt of 223 kg, which is now a national record, and lifted 167 kg in snatch. If not for a wrist injury that hampered his performance, Gurdeep would have bagged a silver medal.

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Nooh, meanwhile, lived up to his reputation and lifted a whopping 405 Kg to win the gold medal. Soon after his last attempt, he went looking for his close friend and bronze-medallist Gurdeep, and they posed for the camera.

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Later in the night, the duo would meet again and jam to Sidhu Moose Wala’s songs, the singer from Punjab who was recently shot to death. 

“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 Moose Wala’s songs,” Nooh told The Indian Express.

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Their friendship dates back to 2016, when they met for the first time in the junior championships. Other than musical preferences, they share a pretty similar culture and speak the same language. Nooh also revealed how playing Moose Wala’s songs helped him set the right tempo for the training. 

“When I saw the news of Sidhu Moose Wala’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,” said Nooh, whose father was also a weightlifter.

Lead Image : Narendra Modi/Twitter