Star Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu’s chances of winning a medal at the upcoming Olympics has gone up especially after North Korea decided to withdraw from the games.
Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8 this year after it was postponed due to COVID-19 crisis last year.
North Korea pulled out of the games to protect its athletes from the ‘world public health crisis caused by COVID-19’.
Former world champion Chanu currently occupies the fourth place in the women’s 49kg Tokyo Games qualifying rankings with 3869.8038 Robi points — the International Weightlifting Federation‘s official calculation method.
Her nearest rival, Ri Song Gum of North Korea, who had pipped Chanu to take the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championship by lifting 204kg as against 201kg by the Indian, is placed third with 4209.4909 points.
Thus, the Manipuri weightlifter stands to gain if North Korea sticks to its decision of withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics.
“We are happy to hear this news about North Korea withdrawing from the Olympics. But, honestly, our focus was on competing with China,” national coach Vijay Sharma was quoted as saying by PTI on April 6.
“At the end of the day, individual performance is most important and we will give our best in the Asian Championship next week,” he added.
Chanu had a disappointing outing at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The diminutive weightlifter had failed to record a legal lift in any of her three attempts in clean and jerk and thus could not get an overall total in women’s 48kg.
The 26-year-old will next be seen at the Asian Weightlifting Championships to be held at Tashkent in Uzbekistan from April 16 to 25.