Mirabai can’t compete at Asian Games, says national coach

National weightlifting coach Vijay Sharma feels World Champion Mirabai Chanu should not participate in the Asian Games owing to a back injury.

Mirabai’s training for the Asian Games has been affected for the last two weeks due to a lower back issue. (File Photo)   -  Getty Images

World Champion Mirabai Chanu’s participation at the Asian Games appears doubtful with India chief coach Vijay Sharma suggesting that she may pull out of the Asiad so that she is fit for the Olympic qualifiers, to be held later this year.

The reigning Commonwealth Games champion is struggling with an unidentified lower-back problem since May and is yet to begin full-fledged weight training.

“I have submitted a report to the federation. Now they have to take a decision. I am of the opinion that in such less time it’s not good to take heavy load. The Olympic qualifiers event is approaching and that is more important than the Asian Games,” said Vijay.

When the pain subsided last week, Mirabai has travelled to Mumbai to resume training and start mobility exercises. However, Vijay said the pain returned on Sunday and that he doesn’t want her to risk aggravating the injury.

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The World Championship, scheduled to be held in Ashgabat from November 1, will be the first Olympic qualifying event this year. “She is in constant touch with the federation. She was okay but felt slight pain yesterday in training. She stopped training but has resumed it again today,” he added.

Doctors across the country were unable to diagnose the cause of her injury. “It is a rare problem, the doctors say there might be small tear in the ligament. That is why the MRI’s and CT scans are coming clean,” said Vijay.

Meanwhile, IWF Secretary Sahdev Yadav said the final decision on her participation will be made by Thursday.

One of the strongest contenders for gold medal in Jakarta, Chanu’s absence will come as a huge setback for India.

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In November 2017, the Manipuri, who participates in the 48 kg category, had clinched India’s first gold at the World Championship in 22 years after lifting 194kg (85kg+109kg) at Anaheim, USA. She had bagged the gold at the CWG in April by lifting a personal best of 196kg (86kg+110kg), a national record.