One of India’s youngest members of the Commonwealth Games 2022 contingent, Jeremy Lalrinnunga broke into the limelight when he became the first athlete from the country to win a gold medal at the Youth Olympics in 2018. He replicated his performance once again at the Commonwealth Games 2022, when he won the gold medal in the men’s 67kg category on July 31.
Jeremy has been a standout performer in both domestic and international stages in the last few years as the 19-year-old helped India to clinch its fifth medal, including second gold medal at the CWG 2022
While teenagers taking part in the Commonwealth Games is not very rare, even in India. In the 2022 edition, 14-year-old Anahat Singh scripted history when she made her senior debut at her opening game in the event. However, she was beaten in the next round.
In the 2018 edition, 15-year-old Anish Bhanwala won the gold medal in shooting and became the youngest Indian athlete to win a medal at the event.
However, while Jeremy Lalrinnunga’s story might feel similar, the 19-year-old’s journey to the top has been with many hurdles, and he has won a huge number of medals at a young age.
Son of a PWD labourer, Jeremy Lalrinnunga’s career began at a SYS academy in his village, near Aizawl in Mizoram. A few years later, he was selected for the Army Sports Institute trials, after which his potential was truly unleashed.
In 2016, Jeremy won two silver medals in the Youth World Championship and the Asian Youth Championship. He replicated his performance in the next year as well, winning another silver at the 2017 Youth World Championship, before clinching two gold medals at the Commonwealth Junior Championship and Commonwealth Youth Championship.
He continued his medal-winning streak with a bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Junior Championship, before winning a silver and the gold medal at the Asian Junior and Youth Championships respectively. However, a career-deciding moment appeared right after this in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, where he won the gold medal, and became the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the event.
Jeremy won four medals in 2019, beginning with the EGAT cup International Weightlifting Championship, where he won the silver and ending with the 6th Qatar International Cup, clinching the silver again. In between, he won a gold and a silver medal at the Asian Youth Championship and Asian Junior Championship.
After the pandemic struck, he managed to win only one medal since most of the tournaments were either cancelled or postponed. He emerged victorious in the 2021 Commonwealth Senior Championship, winning the gold medal.
He also won a gold medal in men’s 67kg weightlifting event at the Commonwealth Games 2022, his first at the mega-event.
In total, Jeremy Lalrinnunga has now won 14 medals since 2016, when he began participating in competitions. He aims to represent India at the Olympics, and it will be interesting to see whether he replicates his CWG performance there once again or not.