Indian weightlifters are some of the country’s best medal hopes at the Commonwealth Games. The nation has a rich history of winning weightlifting medals at the mega-event, which dates back to the 1966 edition in Kingston, Jamaica, where Mohon Lal Ghosh won the silver medal.
In the ongoing edition, the competition between Indian weightlifters against the others also puts the Asians at a major advantage. As an example, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, who won the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, has a personal record of 207 kg (88 kg+ 119 kg), in contrast to her next best-placed rival, Stella Kingsley of Nigeria, whose personal best is 168 kg (72 kg+ 96 kg).
Since weightlifting was included in the Commonwealth Games, athletes from this particular discipline have given India the second-highest number of medals (125), only 10 less than the highest contributor, shooting (135). The Indian weightlifting contingent was also at the top of the charts at the previous edition of the CWG in 2018, with five gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
However, it’s Mirabai Chanu, who is the highlight of the Indian weightlifting team at the Commonwealth Games 2022. Apart from her, the focus will also be on Bindyarani Devi, who will be making her debut at the event in the 55 kg category. She won a gold medal in the clean and jerk event at the women’s world championship in December 2021.
Among the men, Sanket Sargar (55 kg) and Gururaja Poojary (61 kg) will also be watched closely, both of whom are medal contenders. Gururaja won the bronze medal in the previous edition and will have to overcome Malaysia’s Muhammad Aznil bin Bidin, who had won the gold in Gold Coast and had beaten the Indian weightlifter by 8 kgs in the Commonwealth Championships in 2021.
Sanket, on the other hand, is the national record holder in the 55 kg category, which he registered at the Singapore Weightlifting Meet, lifting 256 kg (113 kg+ 143 kg+ 143 kg).
However, it will all come down to Mirabai Chanu to see whether she can complete a hattrick of Commonwealth Games medals. She has previously won a silver (2014) and a gold medal (2018) in the last two editions. One more medal in the 2022 edition will mean she will script history.
She has now won medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics and will look to clinch a medal at the Asian Games, the only honour missing from her cabinet.
Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg), who will be in action on Sunday and won the gold at the Youth Olympics, is also in contention for a medal in the ongoing edition of the CWG.
Achinta Sheuli (73kg), Vikas Thakur (96kg) and Punam Yadav (76kg), all are coming to the Commonwealth Games 2022 with an impressive build-up ahead of the event and will be a part of India’s medal charge in this edition.