CHENNAI: INDIA’S weightlifter Dalabehera Jhilli is assured of a medal in the 45kg even before the competition kicks off at the Asian Championships in Tashkent on Saturday. However, it will be a tough fight for star lifter Mirabai Chanu with Asian and world record holders Hou Zhihui and Jiang Huihua, both from China, in fray in the 49kg. Both the Indian weightlifters will be in action on Saturday.
“Yes, there are only two entries in the 45kg so Jhilli is assured of a medal,” Vijay Sharma, weightlifting head coach who has accompanied the national team comprising seven lifters including four women, told this daily. Jhilli’s rival in the final will be Mary Flor Diaz from Philippines. The Gold Level will also
serve as qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking on Mirabai’s prospects, Sharma affirmed that their main target is overall improvement with an eye on the Olympics. “We are eyeing overall improvement. It will be good if she can lift additional four kilos that will give us a good chance to improve it further in the next event thus closing the gap with the world’s best at the Games.”
The 26-year-old Mirabai’s personal best came at the 2020 National Championships where she lifted 88kg in snatch and 115kg in clean and jerk for a total of 203kg. Internationally, she breached the 200kg mark by lifting 201kg (87+114) at the 2019 World Championships.
Weightlifting will see 14 competitors in each category at the Olympics. The top eight per category will qualify directly on the basis of IWF world rankings charts, with a maximum of one athlete per country. Five remaining slots will be allotted to the best lifters from each continent and one quota will be
reserved for the host nation.
The Manipuri lifter is currently fourth in the world rankings and participation in the Gold Level tournament will confirm her Olympic spot as this will be her sixth mandatory qualifying event.
As per the qualification rules, a weightlifter has to compete in at least one event of the three periods of six months, at least six events overall and at least one gold and silver-level event.
Jeremy Lalrinnunga is another medal prospect from the country in the event. Competing in the 67kg category, the 2018 Youth Olympic gold medallist will look to better his silver medal winning effort in the 2019 edition when he competes on Monday. The Mizo too has almost qualified for the quadrennial event as he is now the highest-ranked Asian weightlifter outside the top-eight.
Indian contingent: Men: Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg), Achinta Sheuli (73kg), Sathish Sivalingam (81kg). Women: Jhilli Dalabehera (45kg), Sakhom Mirabai Chanu (49kg), Sneha Soren (55kg), P. Anuradha (87kg).