Pattaya: Ace weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will aim to seal an Olympic spot when she leads the Indian challenge at the World Weightlifting Championship, starting here on Wednesday. Chanu had won the gold in the 48kg category at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championship.
She was down with a lower back injury but made a commendable comeback.
The 25-year-old jumped from 48kg to 49kg following the International Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) decision to rejig weight categories.
This year, Chanu lifted a personal best of 199kg (86kg+113kg) but missed out on the podium by a whisker at the Asian Championships.
Chanu will be competing alongside 2018’s silver and bronze medal winners China’s Hou Zhihui, who is also the current world record holder in the 49kg category, and Jiang Huihua respectively.
Coming to the male lifters, Youth Olympic Games gold medallist teenager Jeremy Lalrinnunga will be the cynosure of all eyes. At 16, the Mizoram boy won the silver medal in the EGAT Cup, lifting 131kg in snatch and 157kg in clean and jerk.
At the Asian Championships, he smashed the Youth World and Asian records with an effort of 297kg (134kg+163kg).
Other Indians in the fray are Commonwealth Championship gold medallist Ajay Singh (81kg) and national champion Achinta Sheuli (73kg).
This meet alone would not be enough for athletes to qualify for the Tokyo Games but a good show at the gold level Olympic qualifying event will sharpen their chances of making it to the Games next year.
Squad: Men: Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg), Achinta Sheuli (73 kg), Ajay Singh (81 kg).
Women: Mirabai Chanu (49 kg), Jhilli Dalabehera (45 kg), Sneha Soren (55kg), Rakhi Halder (64kg).