Mirabai Chanu in focus, World Weightlifting Championships set to get underway in Bogota

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Bindyarani Devi (59kg), gold medallist Achinta Sheuli (73kg) and bronze medallist Gurdeep Singh (+109kg) are the other Indians in fray.

Mirabai Chanu will be in action at the World Weightlifting Championships 2022 in Bagota.

Mirabai Chanu will be in action at the World Weightlifting Championships 2022 in Bagota. | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan | The Hindu

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Bindyarani Devi (59kg), gold medallist Achinta Sheuli (73kg) and bronze medallist Gurdeep Singh (+109kg) are the other Indians in fray.

All Indian fans will keenly track the performance of Mirabai Chanu when the Olympic silver medallist performs in the World Weighthtlifting Championships 2022, a qualifying event for the Paris 2024, in Bogota on Tuesday.

Even though Mirabai, who claimed her second Commonwealth Games gold medal (201kg) and her maiden National Games gold (191kg) earlier this year, has recovered from a wrist injury, she will not stretch herself in the highly-competitive field.

The women’s 49kg weight category includes the Chinese duo of double World champion Jiang Huihua, World and Olympic champion Hou Zhihui, two-time European bronze medallist in 55kg Nina Sterckx of Belgium, Venezuelan Worlds silver bronze medallist in 45kg Echandia Katherin, Romanian European bronze medallist Mihaela Cambei, Dominican Republic’s junior Pan-American champion Dahiana Oritz and Brazil’s Pan-American champion Natasha Figueiredo.

Eleven lifters have given entry weights of 200kg or more and it speaks of the quality of the field in this weight class.

According to the Paris Olympics qualifying system, a lifter needs to compete in two compulsory events – 2023 World Championships and 2024 World Cup.

Besides, an athlete needs to participate in three other events from the following: 2022 World Championships, 2023 Continental Championships (or continental Games if it is replacing the continental championships), 2023 Grand Prix I and II and 2024 Continental Championships.

The highest total achieved by an athlete in the above-mentioned events shall be counted towards his/her overall Olympic Qualification Ranking.

A country can field only three lifters, with a maximum of one per weight category, in each gender and each weight category will feature 12 athletes.

Altogether 10 weight categories, five each for men and women, will feature in the Paris Games.

Chief National coach Vijay Sharma says there is no need to rush. “If we achieve the peak now, then we cannot sustain it. We have a long period in hand, about 19 months, and I am clear how we are going to approach this. There should be enough gaps between competitions,” he said. “Mira has recovered from her wrist issue. We are not pushing for anything here,” the coach added.

Altogether four Indian lifters are competing in this edition of the World Championships. They had a three-week camp in St. Louis, USA, before reaching Bogota.

“We wanted to train in the same time zone but could not get any facility in Colombia. So, we trained in the USA. It helped as some of the lifters had gone out of training after the Commonwealth Games. We worked on their weak points, including strength,” said Sharma.

“It gave us time to address Mira’s shoulder issue, which is a natural problem for her and results in her wrist issue.”

Commonwealth Games silver medallist in 55kg Bindyarani Devi (59kg), gold medallist Achinta Sheuli (73kg) and bronze medallist Gurdeep Singh (+109kg) are the other Indians in fray.

Achinta, with a personal best of 316kg (achieved a year ago), is the other lifter who has the potential to make it to the Paris Games.

Achinta has recovered from his back niggle and has mentioned an entry weight of 310kg, which is 40kg less than that of China’s Wei Yinting and Turkey’s Muhammed Furkan Ozbek. Achinta will compete in Group C on Friday.

“The good thing about Achinta is his performance is increasing slowly. If he works hard, he will be able to qualify for the Olympics. It is a good exposure for him,” said Sharma.

Like Achinta, Bindyarani, with her entry mark of 200kg against the top Chinese Luo Shifang (240kg), and Gurdeep, who has entered 350kg and is way behind Georgia’s Lasha Talakhadze (465kg), will try to gather some valuable experience from an elite event.

Bindyarani will compete in Group D of her weight category on Thursday, while Gurdeep will be seen in action in Group C of his weight class on December 16.

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