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Mirabai Chanu won't lift in World Championships, just participate

With an Asian Games medal on her mind, Mirabai Chanu has decided to only participate and not lift at the upcoming World Championships.

Mirabai Chanu Gold Medal

Mirabai Chanu with the first gold medal for India at the ongoing Commonwealth Games 2022.


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 29 Aug 2023 8:20 AM GMT

Olympic medallist Mirabai Chanu will only mark her attendance at the World Weightlifting Championships in Riyadh and not compete, as she focuses on the forthcoming Asian Games.

Mirabai decided against lifting weights at the Worlds to avoid injuries and manage her form.

The event is a compulsory qualifying event for the Paris Olympics. The short time gap between the two events makes it difficult for lifters to manage their weight and peak at both events.

The World Championships, are scheduled for September 4 in Riyadh, while the Asian Games begin less than 20 days later in Hangzhou, China, on September 23.

"There is very little time between the Asian Games and the World Championships. Since there is compulsory participation at the World Championships, we have decided that Mirabai only travel to Riyadh and give the body weight. She will complete all the mandatory protocols like giving 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.

Mirabai Chanu won the gold medal in the 2017 edition of the World Championships. She would have skipped the event in Riyadh, but according to the 2024 Olympic qualification rule, one lifter has to compete in the 2023 World Championships and the 2024 World Cup.

Currently training in St Louis, USA, under Dr Aaron Horschig, Mirabai Chanu has registered an entry weight of a mere 60kg at the World Championships.

The rationale behind this move is that the Asian Games medal is the only silverware missing from her cabinet. A medal at the Asian Games will be a confidence booster for Mirabai as the weightlifting competition has a tough draw at the continental showpiece.

Earlier in a press conference, IWLF president Sahdev Yadav had mentioned the need to protect her from injuries. "Mirabi Chanu needs to be protected till the Paris Olympics. She has to cut down on her weight to reach 49kg before the competition. For the same reason, competing frequently is not good for her," Yadav 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.

The International Weightlifting Federation (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.

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