Sanket Sargar had overcome pain to earn India a weightlifting silver on Saturday. Jeremy Lalrinnunga, in almost similar circumstances, did even better on Sunday as he clinched the country’s second gold medal in the ongoing Commonwealth Games.
On way to his triumph, the teen weightlifter shattered two Commonwealth Games records in the men’s 67kg competition.
The reigning Youth Olympic champion first bettered the snatch mark with a successful 140kg attempt and then lifted 160kg in clean and jerk to take his aggregate to 300kg, which is a new Games record in his category.
A massive 7kg difference from his nearest rival, Samoa’s Vaipava Ioane (127kg+166kg) summed up the dominance of the 19-year-old, who first made headlines by winning a historic gold at the Youth Olympics in 2018.
Nigeria’s Edidiong Umoafia took bronze with an effort of 290kg (130kg+160kg).This was India’s fifth medal and second gold from the weightlifting arena at the National Exhibition Centre.
Battle vs cramps
Watched on by her idol Mirabai Chanu, who herself won a gold on Saturday, Jeremy dominated the snatch section, but the stiff competition in clean and jerk made it a thrilling contest.
What added to the anxiety were the cramps he suffered during his clean and jerk effort. He pulled his thigh and hamstring muscles, but that could not stop him from emerging as the best.
“I completely blanked out and was clueless what was going on around me. I was like blind and cried a lot (after a failed attempt),” Jeremy said afterwards.
“I never followed the other lifts, it was so painful. Crying out aloud, I asked the coach ‘medal aya ke nahin?’ Coach Sir (Vijay Sharma) told me ‘gold hai hamara’ and it soothed my nerves.
“Coach Sir was amazing, he managed all the weights and ensured that I landed the medal safely. He was very calculative and there were never self-doubts.
“It seems I’m in a different world now and living a dream. It’s my first major competition at the senior level after the Youth Olympics,” he added.
The youngster, who has a habit of putting pictures of his targets as his cellphone wallpaper, aims to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“Yes, that’s (an Olympic medal) the target, but it will be a long and tough journey ahead,” Jeremy said.
He will first have to bulk up for the Olympic category of 73kg.
“The transition would not be easy, I’ve to move to a higher weight category — I have to put on six kilograms to shift to the 73kg Olympic category. Keeping my fingers crossed (for Paris),” Jeremy said.
His father, Lalneihtluanga, was a junior national champion in boxing and the Jeremy too loves to box.
“I still box in the ring and love it, but looking at my fellow friends’ passion, I chose weightlifting,” he said.
It was a good choice it seems.
Popy ends seventh
Popy Hazarika finished a disappointing seventh in the women’s 59kg weightlifting. The lifter from Assam had a total lift of 183kg (81kg+102kg).
It was the first of the six weightlifting events so far that didn’t yield a medal for India. Rafiatu Folashade Lawal of Nigeria won the gold.