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regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

Mirabai Chanu to spearhead Indian challenge at Asian Weightlifting Championships, unlikely to target 90kg snatch lift

Mira only has to participate here. We will take it easy, says head coach

PTI Jinju Published 05.05.23, 07:47 AM
Mirabai Chanu.

Mirabai Chanu. File photo

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will once again spearhead the Indian challenge at the Asian Championships but she is unlikely to attempt the much-awaited 90kg snatch lift here on Friday.

The two-time Commonwealth Games champion had won silver in her last outing at the World Championships in December with an overall effort of 200kg (87kg +113kg).

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It was far from her personal best of 207kg (88kg+119kg) and this time too, the former world champion 49kg lifter is not expected to test her limits.

“Mira only has to participate here. We will take it easy,” head coach Vijay Sharma said. “She will just participate and lift 85kg (snatch)...110kg (clean and jerk), totals that she can easily get.”

This means the wait for the coveted 90kg snatch lift could be longer. Chanu, who struggles with a back issue that affects her snatch, has been trying to breach the 90kg-mark since 2020.

But with the Olympics still a year away and the Asian Games scheduled in September, the Manipuri wants to peak at the right time.

The last time Chanu competed at the event in 2021, she made history by creating a new world record in the clean and jerk category, which still stands.

“We will create world records in the Olympic year. She was at her peak the last time she was here because the Olympics were just around the corner. The Paris Olympics is next year. There is no point peaking now.”

The Indian will renew her rivalry with the Chinese duo of Jiang Huihua and HouZhihui, who have the highest entry weights of 205kg each.

Zhihui is the reigning Olympic champion. Chanu, on the other hand, has the second-highest entry weight, along with two other lifters.

It will also be the first time Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg) and Achinta Sheuli (73kg) compete in an event since winning the gold at the Commonwealth Games last August.

While Jeremy had been nursing a thigh injury, Achinta had to withdraw from the World Championships in December at the last minute after he pulled his hamstring during the warm-ups.

The duo will aim to collect the required ranking points to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

The Asian Championship is the qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics, where weightlifting events will be cut from 14 at Tokyo Games to 10.

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