With Mirabai Chanu firmly eyeing a elusive medal at the Asian Games, she will only mark her participation by completing the necessary formalities and no at next week's World Championships, which are a mandatory qualifier event for the Paris Olympics will lift weight. The World Championships will take place in Riyadh on September 4, while the Asian Games will begin less than 20 days later on September 23 in Hangzhou, China. The short time between the two events makes it difficult for athletes to control their weight and perform at their best in both the events.
“There is very little time between the Asian Games and the World Cup. Since participation in the World Championships is compulsory, we have decided that Mirabai will only travel to Riyadh and submit the body weight.”
“She will complete all mandatory protocols, such as a drug test, if required. But she won't lift any weight. She just goes there to take part,” head coach Vijay Sharma told PTI.
The Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, who competes in the under 49kg category, has registered a starting weight of just 60kg at the World Championships. On this basis, she was placed in Group D of the competition. The lifters registering the heaviest starting weight will be placed in Group A, followed by Group B and so on.
Ideally, Chanu would have won the 2017 World Championship and could have skipped the event, but under the 2024 Olympic Qualification Rule, a lifter is required to compete at the 2023 World Championship and the 2024 World Championship.
On the other hand, a medal at the Asian Games is the only piece of silver missing from Chanu's cabinet and the Manipuri has consistently insisted she wants to win that elusive medallion in this edition of the Games.
Winning a medal at the Asian Games will not be easy, however, as weightlifting powerhouses such as China, Korea and Thailand will all go head-to-head in the continental event.
“We want to break the 90 kg mark (in the snatch) at the Asian Games. It's been a while since we've tried to cross that line. We focused on Mira's snatch here in training,” said Sharma.
While Chanu leads the pack in the clean and jerk, her snatch performances have been underwhelming. The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist has personal bests of 88 kg in the snatch and 119 kg in the clean and jerk, which are also the world records.
Five lifters have snatched 90kg or more in the current Olympic cycle, while the world record stands at 96kg.
At the Asian Championships in May, the last tournament Chanu attended, the star lifter from India was forced to withdraw from the competition with a questionable hip.
The 29-year-old is currently training in St. Louis, USA with Dr. Aaron Horschig, whom she has been advising since 2020.
“We also have to keep an eye on Mira's body. As you age, the risk of injury increases with age. So we have to be careful with the workload.”
“Right now her body is fine. Small ailments happen here and there, but nothing serious,” Sharma said.
Aside from this year's World Championships and the 2024 World Cup, a lifter must also compete 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 each weight class's Olympic Qualification Ranking (OQR) at the end of the qualification period.
The best three performances at the qualification events will be considered for the final evaluation.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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