Top lifters doubtful for Asian Games selection

Sathish Kumar bagged the 77kg gold medal in Gold Coast with a total lift of 317kg, while Rahul took the top honour in 85kg by lifting 338kg.

Sathish Kumar Sivalingam is nursing back and thigh injuries. (File Photo)   -  PTI

India’s campaign in weightlifting in the Asian Games may receive a setback as Commonwealth Games gold medallists S. Sathish Kumar and R.V. Rahul are nursing injuries and appear doubtful for selection trials to be held in Patiala on June 28.

Sathish Kumar bagged the 77kg gold medal in Gold Coast with a total lift of 317kg, while Rahul took the top honour in 85kg by lifting 338kg.

Both have been dropped from the Government’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) list because of their injuries. According to chief National coach Vijay Sharma, Sathish is nursing back and thigh injuries, while Rahul has a thigh issue.

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“Rahul is part of the National camp. When he starts lifting weights next week, we will get to know whether he can be ready for the trials. However, Sathish is not in the camp and I am not sure how far he has recovered,” Vijay told Sportstar from the ongoing three-week-long National camp in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh.

“Because of the introduction of the qualification criterion, which requires a lifter to return a top-six performance achieved in the last Asian Games, these injured lifters cannot get the time they would have normally got before the Asian Games.”

In the last Asian Games in Incheon, K. Ravi Kumar had finished 10th in the 77kg weight class with an aggregate of 313kg and Vikas Thakur had taken the seventh place in 85kg with a total of 327kg.

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In case Sathish and Rahul fail to be fit for the trials, the Indian Weightlifting Federation will have to look for other options. “We can find a replacement for Sathish, but it will be difficult to find one for Rahul,” said Vijay.

Vijay sounded confident about the prospect of women lifters, including world champion Mirabai Chanu, who is expected to win a medal in the continental event.

Vijay downplayed the recent hype surrounding Mirabai’s request to install a camera in her room at Patiala to foil any possible spiking of her food or drink. “There was a discussion about such possibilities and she just said that it would be good to have a camera installed,” said Sharma.