Indian weightlifters Achinta Sheuli and Narayana Ajith will look to put their best foot forward even as the injured Mirabai Chanu will not lift the barbell at the IWF Grand Prix II, an Olympic qualifying event, starting here on Monday.
Mirabai is still recovering from a hip tendinitis injury which she sustained in October while competing at the Asian Games. The Tokyo Olympic silver medallist will mark her attendance at the event only by completing the necessary formalities, like undergoing a dope test, to remain eligible for Paris Games.
The former world champion Mirabai, who competes in the 49kg weight class, is ranked second in the Olympic Qualification Ranking (OQR).
In her absence, the focus will be on Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sheuli and reigning national champion Ajith, who will compete in the 73kg weight class.
Sheuli, who has struggled with injuries since being crowned the CWG champion last year, has been placed in Group B based on the his entry weight of 300kg, which is more than 10kg short of his personal best of 313kg.
Ajith, on the other hand, has set a starting weight of 290kg and is placed in the Group C. The Tamil Nadu lifter has consistently improved his personal bests this year and is currently ranked 27th in the OQR with a best effort of 312kg.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Bindyarani Devi will also be in action at the event. The 24-year-old has been placed in Group A in the women’s 55kg event, which is a non-Olympic weight class.
CWG bronze medallist Gurdeep Singh, who has recovered from his wrist injury, will compete in the +109kg category, which also doesn’t feature in the Olympics.
Under the 2024 Olympics qualification rule, the 2023 World Championships and the 2024 World Cup are compulsory events.
Apart from these two tournaments, a lifter also has to participate in at least three of the following events — the 2022 World Championships, the 2023 Continental Championships, the 2023 Grand Prix 1, the 2023 Grand Prix II and the 2024 Continental Championships.
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) will publish the Olympic Qualification Rating of each weight category at the end of the qualification period.
A weightlifter’s best three performances at the qualifying events will be taken into account for final assessment.
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