While the 72nd Men’s and 35th Senior Womens’ National Weightlifting Championships gets underway at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra in Kolkata, it will serve as a stage to players to measure their performance ahead of the Asian Weightlifting Championships — a gold-level event to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
As explained in an earlier article, weightlifting qualification for Tokyo 2020 will depend on World Rankings. A total of 13 lifters will qualify in every category based on the rankings (with certain continental restrictions). However, only one lifter per country per category can qualify, and there are also other restrictions with respect to maximum number of lifters per country across all categories. For example, India is eligible to qualify a maximum of only 2 male lifters and 2 female lifters for Tokyo.
Ranking points could be earned at various weightlifting events with a multiplier based on the level of event (gold events had a 1.1 multiplier, silver 1.05, and bronze 1.0). The best results in each of three periods were considered (1 November 2018 – 30 April 2019; 1 May 2019 – 31 October 2019; 1 November 2019 – 30 April 2020) along with the overall best result.
As things stands now, three Indian weightlifters are in the contention to qualify for the Olympics. A weightlifter must compete in at least one event in each of the three periods of six months (spread over November 2018 to April 2020), at least six events overall and at least one gold and silver level event.
All eyes are on Mirabai Chanu, of course, who holds her fourth spot in the Olympic qualifiers ranking list released by the International Weightlifting Federation.
The 2017 World Championship gold-medallist, also bagged gold medal (48 kg) in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and is one of country’s leading medal hopes in the Tokyo Olympics. In the race for qualification, the 25-year-old, who competes in the 49 kg category, has gathered 3,869.8038 ranking points so far. After recovering from a back injury, which marred her progress in 2018, Chanu has constantly improved her performances in 2019. She lifted 86 kg in snatch and a personal best of 113 kg in clean and jerk for a total of 199 kg at the Asian Championships in April last year to miss the bronze medal by a whisker. Her best performance came at the World championship in September, when the Manipuri breached the much anticipated 200 kg mark by lifting her personal best in all sections. In snatch, she lifted 87 kg, followed by 114 kg in clean and jerk for a total of 201 kg.
Among the women, the next in the line is Rakhi Halder who stands at the 19th position in 64kg Olympic qualifiers ranking list released by the International Weightlifting Federation.
Rakhi still has chance to make it to the Tokyo Olympics given that she has to perform well in the upcoming qualifying events. She has amassed 2,764.4062 points with her personal best lift of 218 kg, which she picked up Qatar International Cup last year where she won the bronze medal. She also obliterated the senior national record in both snatch and clean and jerk (95kg in snatch + 123 kg in clean and jerk). At the Commonwealth Championship in June 2019, Halder had clinched the gold with a combined effort of 214kg (94kg+120kg).
Jeremy Lalrinnunga, who became the first Indian to win a gold at the Youth Olympic Games, is a contender among men’s 67 kg.
He presently sits at the 19th position in the Olympic qualifiers ranking list with 3,119.8558 points. The 17-year-old weightlifter from Mizoram had made it to the headlines as he clinched a silver medal in men’s 67 kg weightlifting category at the 6th International Qatar Cup with the total lift of 306 kg, his personal best, that broke 27 records in total. The young lad clinched the first silver at the EGAT’s Cup International Weightlifting Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
While Mirabai’s present position will earn her a place at the Tokyo Olympics, both Rakhi and Jeremy has still chances to make it from their respective weight categories going by the Olympic qualification norm of one country having just one participant in each weight category