Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said India has the potential to give traditional weightlifting powerhouses such as China and North Korea run for their money.
India returned from the Commonwealth Championship in Aipa, Samoa with a rich tally of 35 medals in the youth, junior and senior categories, breaking numerous national, Commonwealth, world and Asian records.
The sports minister spent time talking to the 37-member contingent and congratulating them on their achievements. “Good performances in tournaments are good signs. India can become the weightlifting powerhouse in the coming days.” Rijiju said.
“We can have very close competition with China and North Korea. India has the potential and what I want that we should be at the top and get number of medals in the Olympics,” he added.
India has traditionally been front runner in the Commonwealth tournaments in weightlifting while countries like China, South Korea and North Korea dominate the global events.
However, recent results show that India is making steady progress in senior and junior categories led by former world champion Mirabai Chanu and Youth Olympics gold medalists Jeremy lalrinnunga, respectively.
In the Asian Championship in April, Mirabai had missed out on a medal by whisker. The 25 year old had lifted 199kg but lost out to China’s Zhang Rong, who also lifted the the same total, owning to a lower clean and jerk result.
“The main weightlifting challenge comes from the Asian Countries. I feel we will win a medal in weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics.”