CWG 2022: Led by Mirabai Chanu, lifters look to start India’s medal run in style | Commonwealth Games 2022 News

NEW DELHI: It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to label Indian weightlifters as Commonwealth bullies. They don’t just win medals; they punch their opponents with steam. Taste this: the reigning CWG champion, Mirabai ChanuNigeria’s best rival, Stella Kingsley’s best lift yet, is just 168kg (72kg snatch + 96kg clean & jerk), compared to the Indian’s colossal personal best of 207kg (88kg + 119kg).
The country’s weightlifters have made – after firing (135 medals) – the second largest contributor to Indian medals at the CWG since the sport’s inclusion in the quad-renal meeting at the Auckland Edition in 1950, with 43 gold, 48 silver and 34 bronze and a total of 125. India had finished on top of the medals in weightlifting at the Gold Coast Games in 2018, taking home five gold, two silver and as many bronze medals.
Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Mirabai will headline India’s 15-strong weightlifting contingent, which will compete in 14 different categories during the Games. Mirabai (49 kg) will be in action on Saturday on the opening day of the weightlifting competitions at the NEC Arena, along with debutant Bindyarani Devi in ​​the women’s 55 kg category. Bindyarani had won the clean and jerk gold at the Women’s World Cup in Tashkent in December last year, apart from a silver at the Commonwealth meeting held simultaneously.

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But it will be the men’s duo of Sanket Sargar (55kg) and Gururaja Poojary (61kg) who would go first in the morning session to launch the nation’s bid for the gold medal rush in Birmingham. Guru-raja is a bronze medalist of the 2018 edition, but he will struggle against Gold Coast CWG champion (62 kg), Malaysian Muhammad Aznil bin Bidin, who had defeated the Indian at the 2021 Tashkent C’wealth Championships with an overall effort of 273 kg, eight kg more than Gururaja’s 265 kg.
For 21-year-old Sanket, his build-up to the CWG has been excellent. He broke the Common Wealth and National record in the 55 kg category for men during his gold-winning campaign at the Sin-gapore weightlifting meeting, where he lifted a total of 256 kg (113 kg snatch + 143 kg C&J).
But all eyes will be on former world champion Mirabai to complete the hat-trick of CWG medals, following her silver (2014) and gold (2018) in previous editions. The little Manipuri weightlifter looks all set to lead India’s medal march at the CWG. It won’t be a problem for Mirabai to defend her title in Birmingham, as she holds both the Commonwealth (CR) and Games (GR) record in snatch and clean & jerk.
After the CWG, she’s set her sights on the only prize missing from her dazzling trophy cabinet – a medal at the Asian Games – and of course a gold finish in Paris 2024.
Indians are expected to face stiff competition from the Nigerian and Malaysian weightlifters, but the country’s weightlifters are brimming with fresh talent and seasoned campaigners, who have the means to finish their day on the podium. Youth Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg) is said to appreciate his shot at gold after his closest rival and favourite, Pakistani Talha Talib, was penalized for failing a doping test.
World Junior World Championship silver medalist Achinta Sheuli (73 kg) comes to the Games on the back of his personal best of 316 kg (143 kg + 173 kg). Likewise, previous CWG medalists, Vikas Thakur (96 kg) and Punam Yadav (76 kg), will be looking to upgrade to gold after missing out on the podium in both the 2014 and 2018 editions of the Games.

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