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Weightlifter Mirabai provides final touches to Oly preparation (Ld)

Mumbai, July 15 (IANS) In Kansas City, thousands of kilometres far away from her native Imphal in Manipur, Indian weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is rekindling Olympic dreams that were shattered in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.

With just a couple of days to go for departure to Tokyo for the Olympic Games, Mirabai provided the final touches to her preparation on Thursday.

Mirabai, who had barely managed to lift 82kg in snatch and botched all attempts in clean and jerk in the 49kg event at the 2016 Olympics Games, has more experience now. She has turned in some good performances in international competitions and has performed superbly in the interim.

She is ranked No. 2 in the Race to Tokyo list behind China’s Hou Zhuhui, who has the best total of 213 kg (96 snatch, 117 clean & jerk). Mirabai has a season best of 205kg (86 snatch, 119 clean & jerk).

While those in India are already in isolation and getting ready for their Covid tests before departure on July 17, those training abroad too are going ahead with their final preparation. The contingent will be allowed into the Olympic Village from July 18.

Sportspersons leaving for Tokyo from India have to undergo three days of quarantine as per special rules decided by the Tokyo Metropolitan government. Indian athletes who are at camps in foreign countries will reach Tokyo directly and therefore do not need any quarantine.

A huge contingent of 90 sportspersons and officials will depart from New Delhi on July 17 for Tokyo.

Mirabai is training in Kansas City in the USA under renowned strength and conditioning coach Dr. Aaron Horschig. She was experiencing some pain in her lower back after the Asian Championships in April and therefore decided to go to the USA for a rehabilitation and training camp.

The Sports Authority of India on Thursday issued some photographs and videos of Chanu’s final training session in the USA. The government has sanctioned Rs. 40 lakh for her two-month training camp in the USA.

Chanu, the only Indian weightlifter to qualify for the Olympics, is one of the favourites for a medal in women’s 49kg as she had set a world record by lifting 119kg in clean and jerk in the Asian Championship in April. She did 86kg in the snatch for a total of 205kg, which fetched her a bronze medal.

“Since Rio, I have evolved a lot. I have worked very hard to be more perfect with my technique, especially in clean and jerk,” Chanu had said during a virtual interaction with the media a few days ago.



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