Weightlifting : Mirabai Chanu sure-shot for her second OlympicsMarch 21, 2020
Weightlifting’s Olympic qualifying schedule has gone haywire due to the Covid-19 pandemic but India’s Mirabai Chanu is a sure-shot for the Tokyo Games, if they are held, while young Jeremy Lalrinnunga is also set to make the cut for the mega sporting spectacle.
Former World champion Mirabai currently occupies third place in the women’s 49kg world rankings following the cancellation of the Asian Championships, the last Olympics qualifying event of the continent due to the coronavirus outbreak.
She has taken part in five events out of the six mandated in the new qualification rules.
In a meeting of the Executive Board of the International Weightlifting Federation held on March 17-18 via video conference, the world body has made some recommendations to the International Olympic Association (IOC) regarding the Olympic qualifying events.
One of the key recommendations, sources said, may close the qualification process as all the five continental championships were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This would mean the Olympics qualification slots will be decided based on the current world rankings. The IOC will, however, take a final call on the recommendations of the International Weightlifting Federation.
“Mirabai is certain to the qualify for the Olympics, she is currently at third spot in the world rankings. The top eight from the world rankings after the end of the qualification period automatically qualifies for Tokyo Olympics,” Indian Weightlifting Federation secretary-general Sahdev Yadav said.
No more events likely
“She has competed in five qualifying events but the sixth one, the Asian Championships in Tashkent was cancelled. I think there will be no more qualifying events and the world rankings is set to be based on what it currently is.”
Under the new rules, to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, a weightlifter must compete in at least one event in each of the three periods of six months (spread over November 2018 to April 2020), at least six events overall and in at least one gold and silver-level event.
The 25-year-old Mirabai has now collected 3869 Robi points — the IWF’s official calculation method — to be placed third behind Hou Zhihui (4703) of China and Ri Song Gum (4209) of North Korea.
Regarding the 17-year-old Jeremy (men’s 67kg), who won a gold in 62kg in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Sahdev said, “In the Olympics, there will be 14 competitors in each weight category, men and women. Besides the top eight from the world rankings, the top ranker from each of the five continents will also qualify. Jeremy is at the top of Asian rankings and if the international federation’s recommendations are accepted by the IOC, he will also qualify.”
Jeremy is at the top of Asian rankings with 3119 Robi points, far ahead of second-placed Mohammed Almazyadi Nawaf (2672) from Saudi Arabia. He is set for his maiden Olympics.
The last slot will be from the host country, if that country (Japan) has not qualified from this method. But if a weightlifter from the host country has qualified, the last slot will be given through the tripartite commission process.