India’s only representative in weightlifting, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu will look to get over the ghost of her past as she gears up for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
While the heartbreak of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games might still linger, the 26-year-old weightlifter from Imphal will have the opportunity to win India's first medal. Her supporters have a right to be optimistic about her chances of a podium finish. After all, she is the current world record holder in clean and jerk in her 49 kg category.
“I have felt more comfortable in clean and jerk from the beginning. I am more confident. In snatch, my technique was not very good so I could not go higher in weights. I am still working on my technique in snatch,” she told reporters in April this year.
Chanu, however, still has a lot to improve. While she has worked on her technique, there is scope for improvement in snatch. She currently has a personal best of 88kg in snatch and this figure is significantly lower than the world record of 96kg.
Despite that, the absence of a few big names has put Chanu right in the mix for a medal. Hou Zhihui of China, who holds the snatch and combined world records, is expected to start as a medal contender, but her presence means Jiang Huihua will miss out in the category as only one lifter from a country is allowed in each category. Huihua was the gold medalist at the 2019 World Championships.
Furthermore, with North Korea pulling out of the World Games, another top name in Ri Song-gum will miss the competition.
"Our competitors are the lifters from China, USA and Indonesia. We have worked on snatch. But the weights will be decided based on what the others are doing. We don't want to take unnecessary risks," national coach Vijay Sharma told PTI from Tokyo.
Mirabai Chanu has set the highest entry weight of 210kg, which is 5kg more than her personal best. She has been slotted in group A of the women’s 49kg weight category alongside Anais Michel, Wan-Ling Fang, Nina Sterckx, Cantina Windy Aisah, Elizabeth Jourdan Delacruz, Hou Zhihui and Hiromi Miyake.
Where to watch Mirabai Chanu in the weightlifting event live in India?
The weightlifting event at Tokyo 2020 Olympics for Group A will begin at 10:20 AM IST on Saturday, July 24.
The live telecast of weightlifting will be available on Sony TEN 2, Sony TEN 2 HD, Sony Six and Sony SIX HD TV channels in India.
Meanwhile, you can also watch the event in regional language on Sony TEN 3, Sony TEN 3 HD, Sony TEN 4 and Sony TEN 4 HD.
The live streaming of weightlifting will be available on the Sony Liv app.
Featured photo: Twitter / Mirabai Chanu