In a sport dominated by continental powerhouses like China, Korea and Iran, the Indian weightlifting squad is going into the Asian Games competitions here tomorrow with very modest hopes of winning medals. The country has come here with a 13-member team comprising of eight men and five women lifters but is aiming to secure a medal each in only the men's 69 and plus 105 kg categories through participants Ravi Kumar and Sarabjit Singh, according to team manager K Subramanyam.
"We are expecting a medal in the 69kg for men through Orissa's K Ravi Kumar (Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medallist). Ravi can do it. We also expect a medal from Sarabjit Singh in the super heavy category, but he will have to strive hard," Subramanyam told PTI. Ravi Kumar finished sixth in last year's Asian Championship in Kazakstan with a total clearance of 299kg. The 69kg category is led by Iranian Morteza Rezaeian with a recorded total lift of 325 kg along with his compatriot Seyed Panzvan.
Police officer Sarabjit Singh, who has resumed participating after a knee injury that put him down in 2008, was eighth in the continental championship three years ago but has to contend with 11 others, including Iranian strongman Salimikordasiabi Behdad. "The competition here is equal to world standards and if you see the world championships, the top three positions are taken by the Asians which shows the level of competition would be very high," Subramanyam added. The competition starts here with women's 48kg and men's 56kg events and India have entries in both sections through Sandyarani Devi and Soniya Chanu (women) and B Srinivasa Rao and Sukhen Dey (men).
Subramanyam, meanwhile, held out outside chances of a medal in the women's 58 kg through Y Renubala Chanu, who also won a gold medal in last month's Commonwealth Games. The official said the Indian team did well in the Delhi CWG but it would be difficult to repeat the performance within a month of its end. India won 2 gold, as many silver and four bronze in the capital.
The team: Men: 56kg: Sukhen Dey and V S Rao, 62kg: Rustam Sarang and Omkar Otari, 69kg: K Ravi Kumar, 77kg: C P R Sudhir Kumar, 85kg: Chandrakant Mali, +105kg: Sarabjit Singh. Women: 48kg: N Soniya Chanu and A Sandyarani Devi, 58kg: Y Renubala Chanu, 75kg: L Monika Devi, +75kg: Geeta Rani.