Mirabai Chanu, Jeremy Lalrinnunga among Indian weightlifters with bright chances for Tokyo Olympics qualification 

Sathish Sivalingam was one of the two indian weightlifters who qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics
Sathish Sivalingam was one of the two indian weightlifters who qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics

A total of seven Indian athletes have been shortlisted for the upcoming 2021 Asian Weightlifting Championships, which are set to kick-off in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from April 16 – 25. The IWLF (International Weightlifting Federation) Gold Level event will also serve as the Qualification for the 2021 Tokyo Games, which makes it all the more important.

Boxing will see 14 competitors in each category at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, with the top eight per event qualifying directly on the basis of IWF world rankings charts, with a maximum of one athlete per country. For the remainder, five slots are allotted for the best weightlifters from each continent, with one quota reserved for the host nation.

Seven athletes selected for the 2021 Asian Weightlifting Championships:

Men: Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg), Achinta Sheuli (73kg), Sathish Sivalingam (81kg)

Women: Jhilli Dalabehera (45kg), Sakhom Mirabai Chanu and Sneha Soren (both 49kg), P. Anuradha (87kg)

Indian weightlifters with bright chances of making it to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics:

Mirabai Chanu (49 kg category)

The weightlifter from Manipur has been in the fray for quite some time now, as she made headlines with a Gold medal win at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the 48kg category at the age of 20. Even though her rise to the top was fast-tracked with a qualification to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, it was a disastrous campaign for her as she failed to lift the weight in any of her three lifts in the clean and jerk section.

Mirabai Chanu after winning the Gold meal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
Mirabai Chanu after winning the Gold meal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

However, she staged a fitting comeback the following year by claiming top-honors at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim (USA) with lifts that scripted a competition record of 194kg in total (85kg in snatch and 109kg in clean and jerk). The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Gold medal added another feather to her cap.

A couple of fourth-placed finishes at the 2019 World Championships and 2019 Asian Championships might not have boosted her confidence, but she’s in a good shape ahead of the 2021 Weightlifting Championships. Qualification to the Tokyo Games is looking inevitable, as she is ranked fourth in the 49kg category.

Also Read: No Tokyo Olympics-bound athlete among 30 who tested positive at SAI centres

Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67 kg category)

The moment Jerry Lalrinnunga claimed a Gold medal in the 62kg category at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, it was deemed that the Aizawl-based athlete was the next big thing from India in weightlifting. Incidentally, it was India’s first ever Gold medal at the Youth Games as he claimed top honors with a lift of 274 kg (124kg in snatch and 150kg in clean and jerk).

At the 2019 Asian Weightlifting event, the Mizo stamped his authority in the senior level, with a Silver medal in the 67kg category, paving his way for glory in the coming years. The athlete also finished as the 21st ranked player in the World Weightlifting Championships in the same year.

Most importantly, he is now the highest-ranked Asian weightlifter outside the top-eight, which gives us enough hope from the teenager. Jeremy’s father, a national level boxer, took him to the ring during his early days, but Jeremy could not pick up the game. It was when he saw weightlifting that he decided to shift tracks – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sathish Sivalingam (81 kg category)

One of the most experienced weightlifters in the current lot, the Tamil Nadu-based weightlifter has been delivering the goods for several years. His claim-to-fame moment came during the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, as he earned a top-podium finish in the 77kg category. He repeated a similar record four years later at the 2018 Gold Coast CWG.

In between, he qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but finished in 11th position overall. With still a lot of fire left in him, the weightlifter will compete in the 81kg category at the upcoming event. While there’s every reason why he should qualify, his chances look slimmer than the other two on the list, especially if we take his recent form into consideration.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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