Commonwealth Games 2018: Mirabai Chanu among three Indian lifters eyeing golden start
The 48kg world champion of 2017 is odds-on favourite to give India their first gold on Day 1 of competitions at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Thursday.other sports Updated: Apr 04, 2018 23:32 IST
If things go as per plan, India should have three medals on the opening day of competitions at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday. All three should come from weightlifting – a sport in which India have traditionally done well at Commonwealth Games because the competition is not as tough as in other major events like Asian Games, Olympics and World Championships.
Male lifters Gururaja (56kg) and Raja Muthupandi (69 kg) and Mirabai Chanu in women’s 45-48 kg category will launch India’s hunt for medals, and all three are expected to be successful.
But all eyes, be it Indians at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre in Gold Coast and those back home watching on television, will be on Chanu, who is expected to not only win gold but break the Games record. The 23-year-old from Manipur is the reigning world champion in 48kg.
Having lifted a total of 194 kg in the 2017 World Championships at Anaheim, USA, Chanu can easily break the Commonwealth Games record of 175 kg, set by Augustine Nwaokolo of Nigeria in 2010.
National weightlifting coach Vijay Sharma has high hopes from his team, especially Mirabai Chanu. The team has trained hard and is well prepared. However, Sharma will have to ensure there is no complacency. Chanu was expected to do well at the Rio Olympics but after lifting 82kg in snatch, she failed to register a single legal lift in clean and jerk.
Gururaja will be first up in men’s 56kg where the fight will be between Chaturanga Lakmal of Sri Lanka and Manuell Tulo of Fiji.
In 62kg, Muthupandi will be hoping to hold his own as More Baru of Fiji and Talha Talib of Pakistan start favourites. They had gone toe-to-toe in the 2017 Commonwealth Championships where Baru bagged gold and Talib is gearing up to avenge that. While the focus will be on these two, Muthupandi will hope to cause an upset.