Waiting for an Olympic gold from Mirabai Chanu: IWF

KOLKATA: former world champion Mirabai Chanu will be a strong contender for an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, Indian Weightlifting Federation general secretary Sahdev Yadav He said Monday.

The 2017 World Champion, who also won the 48 kg gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, currently ranks fourth with a better 201 kg ascent before the Asian Championship in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

The Chinese duo of Zhihui Hou (211 kg) and Huihua Jiang (212 kg) currently lead the ranking, as a total of 13 lifters make the cut for Tokyo Olympics in all categories with the event of Kazakhstan (April 16-25) as the final Olympic classification.

Mirabai guarantees us a silver. Our fight will be with China for a gold, Yadav said on the sidelines of the 72nd National Men's and 35th Women's Weightlifting Championships at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra.

Manipuri, 25, who competes in the 49 kg, lifted 86 kg at start and a better 113 kg in clean and tug for a total of 199 kg in the Asian Championship in April last year to lose the bronze medal by a mustache

His best moment came at the World Championship in September when he broke the 200 kg mark by lifting his best personal mark on the road to a total of 201 kg, but only to lose the bronze again.

But Yadav has high hopes that Mirabai, who could not finish his event at the Rio Olympics, will peak in Kazakhstan.

We hope she tops the ranking in Kazakhstan. And mark my words, if you manage to do that you won't stop it in Tokyo, so much so that the Chinese could withdraw for fear of loss, Yadav said.

He also said Jeremy Lalrinnunga , who became the first Indian to win a gold in the Youth Olympic Games, also has the right to qualify for the Olympic Games in 67 kg men.

But our goal is to keep it ready by 2024. We want to have three medal contenders in Los Angeles, Yadav said.

As for the preparation, IWF has planned to send the lifters to Olympic destination, 20 days in advance so they can acclimatize to the conditions.

It will be very hot then. We don't want to go too early, so we have planned to get there 20 days in advance, Yadav said.

The government gave a substantial increase of Rs 312.42 crore to its flagship program Khelo India, but the biggest reduction was observed in the National Sports Federations with Rs 245.00 rupees allocated in the Union budget, Rs 55 crore less than the Rs 300.85 revised for 2019-20.

We never ask to increase the budget. Everything we are given is enough and we still have money. Last year we reimbursed Rs 1 crore. We never face any problem, the Ministry has provided us with all the world class facilities in Patiala.

However, Yadav complained about the allocation of Rs 5 lakh for senior citizens and demanded that the budget be increased to at least Rs 50 lakh.

Even the rental of the electronic control panel costs us Rs 3 lakh for five days. Add the cost of transportation, accommodation for 300 lifters and 50 officers, he lamented.