National weightlifting c’ships: All eyes on Mirabai Chanu

S. Mirabai Chanu, the world champion, will use the event to stay in competition mode.

Mirabai Chanu is aiming to do well at the Asian championships in April, 2019, for an Olympic quota spot.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

World champion S. Mirabai Chanu, who is focussed on her goal for the Tokyo Olympics, will be the star attraction in the National weightlifting championships starting at the Railway Indoor Sports Enclave here from Friday.

Mirabai may not face any challenge in women’s 48kg category, but will use the platform to stay in competition mode. Besides, she will use the opportunity to make her employer Railways proud.

Mirabai, who skipped the Asian Games due to a back injury, was relieved when she claimed the gold medal in the EGAT’s Cup, one of the Olympics qualifying events, in Thailand earlier this month. “The main target for Mirabai is the Asian championships in April. That’s one of the major Olympic qualifying events and all her energies are directed towards getting the best result there,” said national coach Vijay Sharma.

Among other well-known names, 2018 Commonwealth Games gold winner in 85kg, R. V. Rahul, who was out of action with an injury, will be back in full force.

Jeremy, Sathish ruled out

However, Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy Lalrinunga, who secured a silver medal in 67kg in Thailand, and double Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sathish Sivalingam, will skip the National championships.

Jeremy is working on gaining weight to fit into the 67kg weight class, while Sathish is still on the path of recovery. “Since it was necessary to participate in the Thailand event, which was the last Olympic qualification event for the semester, Jeremy and Sathish took part in it. We somehow managed to increase Jeremy’s body weight to 65kg and make him participate in Thailand. Sathish has begun his training after recovering from his injury and needs some time to be back at his best,” said Sharma.

Among some established names, K. Ravi Kumar, who was one of the gold medal winning heroes in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, is determined to make an impact this time after a below-par performance last year.