Khelo India Youth Games: Jeremy Lalrinnunga gets a taste of silver

Jeremy Lalrinnunga did lift a personal best of 278 kg, but got beaten to the gold in the men’s under-21 event of the 67 kg class in the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune.

Youth Olympics champion Jeremy Lalrinnunga (left) claps for under-21 champion Gulam Navi in the 67-kg weightlifting event.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN

He may be a phenomenal youngster, and the only Indian lifter to have won the Youth Olympics gold, even before he had turned 16, with a total lift of 274 kilograms, in Buenos Aires.

Yet, there is no immunity for defeat in sports. Jeremy did lift a personal best of 278 kg, but got beaten to the gold in the men’s under-21 event of the 67 kg class in the Khelo India Youth Games at
the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi on Thursday.

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Gulam Navi, a stronger and older team mate from the Army Sports Institute (ASI), managed to beat Jeremy by one kilogram, with a last successful lift of 159 kg in clean and jerk.

Ironically, Jeremy after having cleared 156 kg, was asked by his coach to go for 160, which he had not lifted even in training. He felt the strain on his back and failed the attempt.

A lift of 157 could have fetched him the gold on lesser body weight, but it was easy to be wise on hindsight.

Interestingly, it was the same coach who had decided the weight for both the gold and silver medallists, Chindu Sekar of ASI.

"We go according to the flow of the competition. You always try to do better. So, when we decided 159 for Gulam Navi, we decided 160 for Jeremy", said the coach.

Of course, Jeremy, who has moved from the 62 kg category to the 67 kg category and was having his first competition in it, in pursuit of the Olympic qualification events including the Asian Championship
scheduled later, did win the under-17 gold, 32 kilograms ahead of Markio Tario of Arunachal Pradesh.


Srihari Nataraj celebrates his first gold in 200-metre freestyle. PHOTO: KAMESH SRINIVASAN


That bolstered Mizoram’s gold haul, close on the heels of the 1-2 achieved by Zakhuma and Jacob Vanlaltluanga in the under-21 event, 61 kg class. Jacob went on to win the under-17 gold, with a total lift of 253 kg, 26 kilograms better than Charu Pesi of Arunachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, in the swimming pool, Srihari Nataraj, who had followed up on a six-gold haul in the Khelo India School Games last year, by making the finals in both the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games this season, opened his tally with a hard fought gold in the 200-metre freestyle for under-21 boys.

The 18-year-old backstroke specialist from Karnataka, warmed up for the challenges ahead with the freestyle gold, 0.28 seconds ahead of Kushagra Rawat of Delhi, with a time of 1 minute 53.22 seconds.

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Karnataka had earlier won the under-17 boys 200-metre gold through Sanjay Jayakrishnan, who won by a second ahead of Anurag Singh of Delhi.

Karnataka and Delhi shared the honours on the opening day of swimming with four gold medals each, while Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra followed with three gold each.

Bhavika Dugar accounted for two of those gold medals for Tamil Nadu with wins in women’s 200-metre and 800-metre freestyle.