Jeremy Lalrinnunga: My strong mind helps me

India first Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy Lalrinnunga said that his next aim is to perform well at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Jeremy Lalrinnunga said keeping his cool during crucial moments has helped him in winning the Youth Olympics gold.   -  IOA India Twitter

Even after his Abhinav Bindra moment, 16-year-old Jeremy Lalrinnunga's excitement could hardly be felt in his voice.

Jeremy, who achieved his personal best of (snatch 124kg, clean and jerk 150kg) 274kg to outsmart his nearest competitor by 11kg and win the men's 62kg gold, became the first Indian to claim yellow metal in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. He also broke the National record for the total weight in 62kg class for youth and junior.

For the soft-spoken teenager from Aizawl, Mizoram, his grit and composure were his biggest assets. “I am very determined and do what I like to do. My cool head also helps,” Jeremy told Sportstar from the Argentine capital on Tuesday.

Read: Mizo weightlifting sensation claims India’s first Youth Olympics gold

“I was sure of doing something special as I had done similar weights (273kg) during the trials (in Patiala on August 8).”

National coach Vijay Sharma was also confident of Jeremy's good showing. “We were well prepared. The training was good and by looking at the world rankings and performance of lifters in various international competitions I knew he would secure a good result.”

According to Sharma, Jeremy is a gifted lifter. “His natural explosive power sets his apart from others. Besides, he is obedient and follows the instructions well.”

Jeremy, who was inspired by his boxer father to take up weightlifting at an age of seven years, said his early training laid the foundation. “I trained at SYS Academy in Aizawl under coach Malsawma. After a few years, he asked me to appear in the talent hunt programme of Army Sports Institute (in 2012). Then I joined the National camp (in 2016). All this helped me.”

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Having cornered glory at the age group Olympics, Jeremy now nurtures a bigger goal. “My next target is to do well in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I have to switch to 67kg after the change in weight categories. I am willing to work hard to adapt to the new weight.”

Sharma has high hopes from Jeremy. “He is our best bet for an Olympics medal in 2024. He can compete in 2020, but the realistic target will be 2024,” said Sharma.