I want to fulfil my father's dream of making India proud | By Jeremy Lalrinnunga
Weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga who is eyeing an entry into the Tokyo Olympics shares his journey through challenges and hardships to becoming a Youth Olympics gold medallist.
I started my journey as a boxer with my father. My dad, Lalneihtluanga was a known face in the boxing circuit in the early 90s in Aizawl, Mizoram. With his dedication and passion, he made it to the national level and won several medals. But monetary issues in his family coerced him to take up a job at the local Power Works Department (PWD). My father has always been very enthusiastic about teaching boxing and so from an early age, I have been training with him.
While I was boxing, I used to watch boys training at a gym near my house. They used to lift weights. It excited me and gave me the encouragement I needed to try my hand at the sport. I approached those boys in the gym and asked them if they can teach me how to lift. I started doing it and started lifting weights with perfection.
Then a weightlifting academy called SOS academy opened in our village, many of my friends joined it and so I also got enthusiastic about it and joined the academy. So my journey in weightlifting started out of sheer enthusiasm, it was during 2011.
I was really excited and approached the coach there immediately. He is the one who gave me professional weightlifting lessons. I started my weightlifting career with bamboo. The coach used to ask me to bring bamboo and asked me to lift it slowly. Those were 5m long and 20mm wide. There was no weight on them, but it was actually tough to lift a stick than weight because you need to know how to balance it. It is quite tough. I practised day and night, lifting bamboo sticks and learning the art of balancing. After learning the balancing act, I was asked to lift weights. That's how I started my weightlifting career.
I was a kid when I made the transition and my coach guided me on every stage so I really fell in love with weightlifting very soon. After eight months of rigorous training, the coach took me to the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune. In 2012, I went to the Army Sports Institute to train. I passed the test and continued my journey there. I belong to a family of sports lovers. My younger brother is also into sports. My mom really didn't understand what I was doing but it was my brother who lends his helping hand in every step of my life.
I was just 10 years old when I left my home and went to train in Pune at the ASI. I still remember that my parents and come to drop me in Pune. It was quite challenging for me as a 10-year-old to stay alone in Pune without my parents. I was a kid and often used to fall sick. My nose used to bleed, I felt feverish and injury was also a common factor that I face even till now.
I took part in my first professional tournament in 2016 at the Junior Nationals competition. I went on to win the gold medal by creating a national record. I wasn't competing in any tournament before that and in 2015 October, I tried to pull weights with my friends and accidentally cut my belly because of the blades. That was just nine days ahead of the tournament in 2015 and because I had to undergo an operation at SAI, I couldn't take part in the nationals. I was crying and didn't know what to do. It is then my coach said to wait for the Nationals in 2016 February and I should train myself harder for it. He motivated me to bring a medal and take part in the Indian camp. I took a month to recover and train to the best of my abilities and won the gold in nationals and fulfilled the dream of joining the Indian camp.
The gold that I won in the 2018 Youth Olympics was probably the best moment of my career. I worked day and night for the feat. Only after taking part in the nationals, I came to know about the Youth Olympics. It was a big platform for us and I knew I had to perform. My father was a boxer and his dreams of making the country proud remain unfulfilled, which is why, I chose to pursue the sport even harder. This achievement was for my father.
My coach is Vijay Sharma is very close to me. It is under his aegis, I went to the Youth Olympics. He always stays with me. After I competed in Snatch at the Youth Olympics, he took me to the corner and asked me to take a break and a quick power nap. He assured me that my performance was enough to win a medal. He has been like a friend.
My father is my biggest motivation. As a boxer, he has won a lot of medals in Mizoram. The way he shares his experiences with me and guides me in life, no one else does that. He is my biggest inspiration.
I have been associated with the brand Adidas, for a couple of years now. A global sporting giant like them supporting an athlete like me and I am always grateful to them for helping me out. For me, 'Impossible is Nothing' is an attitude that helps people overcome even the hardest of challenges they face. We should focus mostly on the possibilities and progress that will come eventually. My belief is just to perform with all the hard effort in us and not just simply blindly pursue our goals.
Adidas has introduced the evolution of its long-standing brand attitude Impossible Is Nothing. SEEING POSSIBILITIES - as told in bold, human films - is about rebellious optimism, rooted in the purpose of Adidas in the power of sports to change lives. Told in the documentary style of home footage, the series provides a previously unseen side to some of the most documented individuals in the world, enabled via a powerful narrative delivered by friends or fellow athletes, and animated via resurfaced footage from the archives.
We are weightlifters. Things get difficult when weights get heavier. It looks very challenging at first but when we work hard, we achieve this feat. I always tell myself to punch above the weight and this is how I feel I can challenge all the impossibilities.
Now that Asian Weightlifting Championships are over I will be focussing on the World Championships and bring out the best in me and stay in the race to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. A medal at the Games is the best prize I could honour myself with and also my father.