Mizo lifter Lalrinnunga aiming for Olympic berth

Teenaged Indian weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga will look to secure an Olympic Games berth in 67kg category when the 2021 junior World Championships, the last qualification event, is held in Tashkent from May 21 to 31.

Weightlifting qualification for the Tokyo Olympics is based on world rankings, and Lalrinnunga is placed 26th in his weight class. To qualify for the Olympics, he needs to do better than South Korea’s Myeongmok Han, who is placed 20th.

Even though doctors have advised the 18-year-old to not stress his injured knee too much, the young weightlifter is pushing hard to better his personal best of 306kgs (140kg in snatch and 166kg in clean and jerk).

The Mizoram lifter, who became India’s first Youth Olympics gold medallist in 2018, needs to lift at least 310kgs at the Tashkent tournament to have any chance of usurping the South Korean lifter in the ‘Gold Level’ ranking event.

Another major hurdle for the lifter is a knee injury he suffered during the Asian Championships in Tashkent last month. Due to the injury, Lalrinnunga’s performance suffered and he finished eighth.

Lalrinnunga has undergone an MRI scan and doctors have advised him not to put pressure on his knees. But Lalrinnunga, who is training at National Institute of Sport (NIS), Patiala, is hopeful of full recovery.

“I am focusing more on strengthening right now. I have started doing light training with the world event around the corner. I still have more than a fortnight to recover. I hope to compete in the Uzbekistan event and earn requisite ranking points,” the Olympic channel quoted Lalrinnunga as saying.

India’s woman weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who won bronze at the Asian Championships last month, has all but secured her Olympic spot in the 49kg category.

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