The sport that has been a blight on Indian sport because of its doping past now has a shot at redemption — weightlifting is set to open India’s medal tally.
Two possible gold (in the 48kg women’s and 56kg men’s events) are in the offing in weightlifting on Monday, the first day of the competition.
Soniya Chanu and Sandhya Rani will be vying for top honours in the 48kg category, while V.S. Rao and Sukhen Dev will battle for gold in the men’s 56kg.
“If all goes as per plan and the specific training we have put in over the past couple of months, we will definitely be opening the country’s medal count with gold,” said coach Harnam Singh. “All four lifters are good and have the potential of making a podium finish. I am expecting three to four medals from them.”
For 30-year-old Chanu, these Games are a first major multidisciplinary sporting event but she is quietly confident. In last year’s Commonwealth Championships, Chanu pocketed gold with an overall lift of 167kg and in the August trials for the Games she improved her lift by six kgs.
“We’ve been training quite hard and it’s time to deliver. Like any other sportsperson I want to see the Tricolour fly high. Tomorrow, here I come,” said Chanu on Sunday. Her best-ever showing to date is silver at the 2003 Afro-Asian Games.
Harnam, though, says he is keeping the faith: In Chanu and the rest of his flock. “In the Melbourne Games in 2006, we won nine medals, including three gold; this time, being hosts, we will definitely do a lot better. This is our time.”