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India look to grab first gold

Weightlifters Soniya Chanu and Sandhya Rani aim to give hosts India a flying start at their troubled Commonwealth Games by grabbing gold and silver in the women's 48kg division on Monday.

india Updated: Oct 03, 2010 16:03 IST

Weightlifters Soniya Chanu and Sandhya Rani aim to give hosts India a flying start at their troubled Commonwealth Games by grabbing gold and silver in the women's 48kg division on Monday.

Chanu won the 2009 Commonwealth Championship in Malaysia and has a personal best of 175kg while Rani has the next best lift of 167kg.

"Our preparation is good and I am hopeful of a medal in the Commonwealth Games," said Chanu, who is also looking for a solid performance ahead of November's Asian Games where she will face down host nation China's challenge.

National coach Harnam Singh, who is aiming for 10 to 12 medals at the Games, believes the event gives India a chance to bury the doping controversies which have dogged the sport in the country in recent years.

"Our training is going fine and the lifters are very much within the Games Village as the training arena is situated near our residential block," said Harnam.

"Doping is not restricted to weightlifting," he added. "We too want doping to be cleared from all the sports. Our contingent is clean."

In the men's 56kg division, Malaysian veteran Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim could add another gold to the one he claimed at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Ibrahim is also the Commonwealth Games record holder for this event with a lift of 265kg.

India's Sukhen Dey will lead the hopes of the host nation in the 56kg.

He was the first Indian weightlifter to win a world junior championship medal when he claimed bronze in 2009 and has a podium chance, as does compatriot Srinivasa Rao.