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2019 World Weightlifting Championships

2019 World Weightlifting Championship: Aiming for 310 kg to make Olympic cut, says Jeremy Lalrinnunga

Not many weightlifters across the globe get an opportunity to make their World Championship debut at the age of 16 and Jeremy is a ‘special talent’.

2019 World Weightlifting Championship: Aiming for 310 kg to make Olympic cut, says Jeremy Lalrinnunga
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By

Suhrid Barua

Published: 10 Sep 2019 8:47 AM GMT

A transition from the junior ranks to the senior ranks always has its share of challenges. But young Indian weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga turned this challenge into an ‘opportunity’, making all and sundry sit up and take notice of his prodigious talents, hogging the limelight as a 13-year-old, winning the 56kg silver at the 2016 World Youth Weightlifting Championship in Malaysia, and subsequently, bagging another silver in 56kg at the 2017 World Youth Weightlifting Championship in Thailand.

The performances of Jeremy at these two World Youth Weightlifting Championships were a clear indicator that the progress of this Mizoram youngster was rapid. Jeremy’s total lift stood at 240kg (110kg in snatch and 130kg in clean and jerk) at the 2017 World Youth Weightlifting Championship. If every ‘convincing’ was needed that this Mizoram lad should be fast-tracked into the senior fold, his stunning 2018 Youth Olympics 62kg gold medal in Argentina, only buttressed the line of thought that he is ready to take the big strides in senior weightlifting. More importantly, Jeremy improved on his total lift, hoisting 274kg (124kg in snatch and 150kg in clean and jerk) and eked out a feeling that he is primed for bigger things.

Jeremy hogged the limelight as a 13-year-old, winning the 56kg silver at the 2016 World Youth Weightlifting Championship in Malaysia, and subsequently, bagging another silver in 56kg at the 2017 World Youth Weightlifting Championship in Thailand.

The year 2019 saw Jeremy break into the senior fold and he seemed to relish that opportunity, coming up with a total lift of 288kg (131kg in snatch and 157kg in clean and jerk) in 67kg at the EGAT Cup International Weightlifting Championships in Thailand. The Mizoram weightlifter embarked on a record-breaking spree at the Asian Weightlifting Championship in China, turned in a total lift of 297kg (134kg in snatch and 163kg in clean and jerk) and was unlucky to be missed out of the medal bracket. Similarly, at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship in Samoa, the Mizo prodigy broke the Youth World, Asian and Commonwealth records in the snatch category but a disappointing clean and jerk lift deprived him of a medal.

Not many weightlifters across the globe get an opportunity to make their World Championship debut at the age of 16 and Jeremy is a ‘special talent’ and that probably explains why he is training for bigger laurels in the senior level when many of his contemporaries are striving to make a mark in the junior level. Clearly, the excitement of being the youngest Indian to feature in the World Weightlifting Championship is palpable when one talks to Jeremy.

“I’m putting in the hard yards in Thailand ahead of the World Weightlifting Championship and hopeful about delivering a strong performance. Weightlifters from China and North Korea are really formidable in the 67kg category, but I would not like to think too much about my competitors and focus on my job at hand,” says the youngster, exuding a maturity far beyond his age.

It is important to note that the gold, silver and bronze medallists hoisted a total of 332kg, 323kg, and 322kg at the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship in Turkmenistan. Given Jeremy’s personal best is 299kg, his task will be cut out at the 2019 World Weightlifting Championship. “I’m well prepared for this marquee event and have been lifting in excess of 290kg in training sessions. My target at the 2019 World Weightlifting Championship is to achieve a total lift of 310kg (140kg in snatch and 170kg in clean and jerk), which should be good enough to make the cut for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics", quips the soft-spoken Mizoram lad, who was spotted by Zarzokima, a weightlifting coach at Pune-based Army Sports Institute (ASI), when the youngster was only 9 years old.

The year 2019 saw Jeremy break into the senior fold and he seemed to relish that opportunity, coming up with a total lift of 288kg (131kg in snatch and 157kg in clean and jerk) in 67kg at the EGAT Cup International Weightlifting Championships in Thailand.

“Zarzokima Sir had come home to Aizawl for a break in 2012 and spotted a local gym while visiting a friend. I was among the three, training at the gym and Sir was probably impressed with me and subsequently convinced my parents about enrolling me in the Boys Sports Company, a programme for promising young athletes, jointly run by Sports Authority of India and the Indian Army. And that’s how I moved from Aizawl to ASI, Pune,” Jeremy recounts his early weightlifting days.

However, weightlifting was never Jeremy’s first passion – he first took to boxing, drawing interest from his father Lalrinnunga, who was quite a skilled boxer and was also a national champion in the early 90s. “I used to ask my dad to teach boxing lessons after I came from school – he was a very good pugilist but later I opted for weightlifting,” says Jeremy who has seen his father slog to ensure his weightlifting passion remained intact. Lalrinnunga used to operate as a daily wage labourer before he started a small piggery.

Jeremy, who is third among five brothers in the Lalneihtluanga menage, is happy to see good times for his family. “My father has faced many hardships but now everything is fine with us. I got cash awards of Rs 15 lakh and Rs 25 lakh from the Mizoram government and central government after winning the 2018 Youth Olympics gold medal and I have handed over all that money to my parents,” the youngster fires the parting shot.

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