New Delhi, April 6
Star Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu’s chances of winning a medal at the upcoming Olympics received a shot in the arm after North Korea announced it will not be participating in the Tokyo Games.
Former world champion Chanu currently occupies the fourth place in the women’s 49kg Tokyo Games qualifying rankings. North Korea’s Ri Song Gum, who had pipped Chanu to take the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championship by lifting 204kg as against 201kg by the Indian, is placed third.
“We are happy to hear this news about North Korea withdrawing from the Olympics. But, honestly our focus was on competing with China,” national coach Vijay Sharma told PTI. “At the end of the day, individual performance are most important and we will give our best in the Asian Championship next week,” he added.
The latest qualifying rankings feature three Chinese weightlifters in the top five. Hou Zhihui and reigning world champion and world record holder Jiang Huihua are No. 1 and 2 on the list.
However, only one of the three Chinese lifters will be able to compete at the Olympics as a nation can send only one athlete per weight category, effectively making Chanu the second best lifter in her category.
The 26-year-old Chanu will next be seen at the Asian Weightlifting Championships to be held at Tashkent in Uzbekistan from April 16 to 25. — PTI