India without Mirabai to focus on CWG at World Weightlifting Championships


India may have returned with their first Olympic weightlifting medal in two decades at the Tokyo Games, but five months later there appears to be little hope for a medal at this year’s World Weightlifting Championships, which will start in Tashkent on Tuesday.

Even though the Chinese team and other top weightlifters have chosen to skip the competition due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, India’s goals in the competition will simply be to set new records. nationals and do enough to qualify for next year. Commonwealth Games (CWG).

With Indian weightlifters always returning to competition mode, this will also give the team a sense of where they need to be before a busy competitive season in 2022.

No Mirabai Chanu

The best Indian weightlifter of this generation is Mirabai Chanu. The 27-year-old won silver at the Tokyo Olympics this year and a gold at the World Championships in 2017. She would easily have been the best Indian prospect for a medal this year too, but she decided to ignore him after considering his preparation for the tournament. be suboptimal. She also suffered from shoulder pain and heading into a 2022 season that includes both the CWG and the Asian Games, it is unlikely that she would have wanted to risk another injury.

What about Mirabai’s rivals?

Mirabai may be missing her first competition after the Olympics, but her rivals have already started preparations for the 2024 Olympics. In her 49kg class, Thailand’s Surodchana Khambao – who missed the Tokyo Games due to ‘a ban from his country – scored a starting total of 203 kg. That’s more than the Indian lifted after six tricks in Tokyo. Yulduz Tzhumabayeva from Turkmenistan also declared his entry weight of 190 kg. Although this is still 4kg lighter than what Mirabai started with in Tokyo, Tzhumabayeva is only 23 years old and will likely improve in the future.

And although China has not entered a team, its weightlifting program has already started to prepare in earnest. Hou Zhihui, who won gold (from afar) in Tokyo, competed again a month later in the 2021 National Games in China, where she broke her own world record of 213 kg with a total lift of 214 kg.

CWG target

India sends 19 representatives (10 women and 9 men) to the world championships of which only 7 – Sanket Mahadev Sagar (55 kg), Jhili Dalabehera (49 kg), Guru Raja (61 kg), Achinta Sheuli (73 kg) , Harjinder Kaur (71kg), Punam Yadav and Arockiya Alish (both 76kg) compete in category A. Of these only four, Dalabehera, Raja, Sheuli, Yadav and Alish compete in the Olympic weight divisions.

For most Indians participating in these championships, the goal is not a medal but a qualification for the CWG 2022. Automatic entry to the weightlifting competition at the Birmingham Games will be given to the athlete who wins the Championships. Commonwealth Championships that are held concurrently with the World Championships (instead of holding a separate tournament, the results of the World Championships will count towards the Commonwealth Title).

Get into competition mode

While the ambitions of many weightlifters are not very high, for the most part, the Worlds will offer a chance to emerge from a period of stagnation that has set in during the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures to control the spread of the virus have resulted in a period of inactivity that has resulted in the performance of many promising weightlifters declining from previous highs. Mirabai Chanu came up with career-defining lifts at the Asian Championships (where she set a world record in the clean and jerk) and subsequently at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, but others experienced difficulties over the past year.

For example, Jeremy Lalrinnunga – who is the only Indian to have won gold at the Youth Olympic Games. He set a national record of 306 kg at the Qatar Cup in 2019, just 17 years old. However, two years later, he only managed to achieve a total weight of 302 kg. Lalrinnunga – who still holds the world record for young people – is now looking to regain some momentum in his career. In Tashkent, although still competing in Group B, Lalrinnunga submitted an entry weight of 305kg as he says he wants to lift a total of around 310 and set a new national record.

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