Lifter S. Mirabai Chanu, a World champion in 2017, will be leading India’s challenge at the Asian weightlifting championships to be held in Ningbo City, China.
Even though activities related to the continental event, which was earlier scheduled to be held in India, started in Ningbo on Thursday, the proper competition will begin from Saturday.
The Asian championships assumes a lot of importance as it is a gold level Olympic qualifying event. A good performance here will provide a massive boost to the players to make it to the Tokyo Games next year.
In order to curb the doping menace, the International Weightlifting Federation has overhauled the Olympic qualifying system.
According to the new system, each athlete must compete in at least two qualifying events in each of the three semesters – i] November 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019 ii] May 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019 and iii] November 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020.
'Absolute ranking points' obtained by an athlete in four of his/her performances will be taken into account to ascertain the overall rankings to decide on the eligibility for the Olympics.
Mirabai, who jumped from 48kg to 49kg following a shuffle in weight categories, recovered from a nagging lower-back injury to win the gold medal at the EGAT's Cup, a silver-level qualifying event, in Thailand in February.
Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sathish Sivalingam, Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy Lelrinnunga and National champion Achinta Sheuli are among other prominent names who have been selected for the Asian championships.
“Since the Olympic qualification norms makes it compulsory for the athletes to take part in certain number of events in a semester, there is hardly any scope to make too many changes in the squad. We have named our best lifters for the Asian championships,” said National coach Vijay Sharma.
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