CHENNAI: Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu is expected to be in action during the 2021-22 National Weightlifting Championships scheduled in Bhubaneswar, Odisha from January 8 to 16. If she competes in the nationals, the event will be the 27-year-old lifter’s first competition since the historic medal at the Tokyo Games.
Mirabai had decided to skip the recently concluded World and Commonwealth Championships held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from December 7 to 17. She had also skipped the 2020-21 nationals held at NIS Patiala soon after the 2020 Games from August 9 to 12.
“Yes, she will be taking part in her weight category (49kg). This will be Mirabai’s first competition since the Tokyo Games,” Sahdev Yadav, president of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF), told this daily.
She had created history earlier this year when she became the first Indian weightlifter to clinch a silver medal in the quadrennial event bettering the record set by Karnam Malleswari in 2000 Sydney Games by bagging bronze.
“As per the latest guidelines of the Odisha government issued in the wake of rising Coronavirus and Omicron cases, every participant has to undergo RT-PCR test 72-96 hours before arrival in Bhubaneswar irrespective of his/her vaccination status,” added the IWLF president.
As per the IWLF circular issued last week, it is mandatory for all participants to carry the RT-PCR negative test report with barcode otherwise they will not be allowed to enter the competition venue and accommodation hotel/hostel.
Although Yadav expects all Indian lifters, who had competed at the Worlds, to take part in the nationals, a few renowned names may miss the championships. Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg), Achinta Sheuli (73kg), Ajay Singh (81kg) and Purnima Pandey (+87kg) won a gold medal each in their respective weight categories at the Commonwealth Championships thus qualifying for the Commonwealth Games. Jeremy and Achinta may miss nationals.