Mirabai decides to not lift at Worlds; will just attend weigh-in to fulfil Olympic qualification

New Delhi, Aug 29 (PTI) Mirabai Chanu will not heave the barbell at the World Championships next week but in order to be eligible for the Paris Games, the star Indian lifter will mark her attendance at the compulsory Olympic qualifying event by completing the necessary formalities.

The Tokyo Olympics silver medallist, who competes in the 49kg weight class, has decided to prioritise the Asian Games, being held less than 20 days after the Worlds, instead as a medal in the continental event is the only silverware missing from her trophy cabinet.

“There is very less time between the Asian Games and the World Championships. Since there is compulsory participation at the Worlds, we have decided that Mirabai will only travel to Riyadh and give the body weight.

“She will complete all the mandatory protocols like give the dope test, if required. But she will not lift any weight. She is only going there to participate,” head coach Vijay Sharma told PTI.

Having won the World Championships in 2017, ideally Chanu would have skipped the event this year but under the 2024 Olympic qualification rules, a lifter has to compulsorily compete in the 2023 World Championships and the 2024 World Cup.

As per the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) rulebook, a lifter doesn’t have to complete a lift but only need to attend the weigh-in to mark his/her presence at the Worlds.

The global event is scheduled from September 4 in Riyadh while the Asian Games in Hangzhou begins on September 23.

The short turnover between the two events makes it difficult for lifters to manage their weight and peak at both the events.

Chanu has registered an entry weight of a mere 60kg at the World Championships. Based on that she has been placed in Group D of the competition. The lifters who register the highest entry weight are placed in group A, followed by B and so on.

Will go for elusive 90kg snatch lift at Asian Games =============================== The Manipuri has time and again insisted that she wants to win an Asian Games medal. But doing that will not be an easy affair as weightlifting powerhouses like China, Korea and Thailand will compete at the continental event.

“We are aiming to cross the 90kg mark (in snatch) at the Asian Games. It’s been a while since we have been trying to get over that line. We have been focussing on Mira’s snatch here in training,” Sharma said.

While Chanu leads the field in clean and jerk, her snatch performances have been underwhelming. The two-time Commonwealth Games champion has a personal best of 88kg in snatch and 119kg in clean and jerk, which is also the world record.

Five lifters have lifted 90kg or more in the snatch section in the current Olympic cycle, while the world record stands at 96kg.

At the Asian Championships in May, the last tournament Chanu competed in, she had to withdraw from the competition due to a dodgy hip.

The 29-year-old is currently training in St Louis, USA under Dr Aaron Horschig, whom she has been consulting since 2020.

“We have to keep in mind Mira’s body as well. She is ageing, the chances of injuries increase with age. So we have to be careful with the workload.

“Currently, her body is well. Small niggles here and there keep happening but nothing serious,” Sharma said.

Apart from this year’s Worlds and 2024 World Cup, a lifter also has to participate in three of the following events — the 2022 World Championships, the 2023 Continental Championships, the 2023 Grand Prix 1, the 2023 Grand Prix II and the 2024 Continental Championships.

IWF will publish the Olympic Qualification Ranking (OQR) of each weight category at the end of the qualification period.

The best three performances at the qualifying events will be taken into account for final assessment.

Source: PTI News


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