Odisha's Jhilli Dalabehera put up a brilliant display of power-packed weightlifting on her way to a gold medal at the Asian Weightlifting Championships on Sunday.
The 22-year-old exhibited excellent technique by lifting 69kg in snatch and 88kg in clean jerk for a total of 157kg. The performance helped her finish on top of the podium across all three divisions of the gold-level Olympic qualifying event. Jhilli's 45kg division is, however, not a recognized Olympic weight category.
The win marked a massive improvement over her silver medal feat in the previous edition of the Asian Weightlifting Championships. Jhilli had recorded a personal best of 162kg (71kg+91kg) at the same event in 2019.
By breaking a 26-year-old record to become the third Indian to bag the Asian Weightlifting Championships title, Jhilli is on the right path to weightlifting stardom. She is well-positioned to rack up major titles and elevate herself to one of the best on the roster.
From tribal origins to global stardom
Born in a tribal village in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, Jhilli has taken long strides to make her mark on the national circuit. Her rigorous training eventually yielded significant results at several major domestic tournaments, which was followed by international success.
Jhilli gave an exhibition of her immense talent by smashing three state records en route to clinching the gold medal at the 31st Women's State Weightlifting Championships in 2015. She won two gold medals and a silver at the Sub-Junior National Weightlifting Championships the same year.
Jhilli continued to shine and next won the silver in the 48kg junior weight category at the 2016 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships. Two years later, Jhilli once again proved her mettle when she bagged the top honors at Gold Coast.
She shot to fame in 2018 after becoming the second Indian woman to secure a podium finish at the IWF Junior World Weightlifting Championships.
Given the promise shown by Jhilli at this age, a golden career in weightlifting might just be on the horizon for the youngster.