Former champion Mirabai Chanu will lead a seven-member Indian team in the upcoming Weightlifting World Championship to be held in Pattaya, Thailand from from September 18 to 27. The World Championship is a gold-level qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The squad, which is already training in Thailand, has four women and three men lifters. The quartet of Mirabai (49kg), Commonwealth Championship gold medallist Jhilli Dalabehera (45kg), Sneha Soren (55kg) and Rakhi Halder (64kg) will represent India in the women's events.
Among men, Youth Olympic gold medallist Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg) will make his World Championship debut. Besides, Commonwealth Championship gold medallist Ajay Singh (81kg) and national champion Achinta Sheuli (73) will also ply their trade.
"This our core Olympic group. They have to participate in six qualifying events for Tokyo. So they will be the ones competing in the World Championship," national coach Vijay Sharma told PTI. "We have also added some youngsters to the core group because we want them to get exposure. The more chances we give to the youth and juniors, the better prepared our second line, our future will be," he added.
India's best medal hope is Mirabai, who won the gold in the 48kg category at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, United States. Mirabai, who missed the 2018 edition of the event, has made a strong comeback from a lower back injury that had kept her out of action for nearly nine months.
The 24-year-old had lifted 82kg in snatch and 110kg in clean and jerk to clinch the gold medal at the EGAT Cup in February in her new weight category of 49kg. In the Asian Weightlifting Championship, the diminutive Manipuri produced her personal best of 199kg (86kg+113kg) but missed the podium by a whisker, finishing fourth.
The qualification process for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is based on the performances of the weightlifters in six events over a period of 18 months out of which the four best results will be considered. The Squad:
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