Commonwealth Games 2022 weightlifting: Jeremy Lalrinnunga fights through pain to win gold

The Indian weightlifter injured himself after his first clean and jerk attempt but still clinched the gold medal in the 67kg category at Birmingham 2022.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by EDDIE KEOGH

Former Youth Olympic champion Jeremy Lalrinnunga kept India’s purple patch in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games 2022 going with a gold medal win in the men’s 67kg on Sunday.

This was India’s fifth weightlifting medal at Birmingham 2022 in as many events. Sanket Sargar (men’s 55kg silver), Gururaja Poojary (men’s 61kg bronze), Mirabai Chanu (women’s 49kg gold) and Bindyarani Devi (women’s 55kg silver) had medalled for India on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Jeremy Lalrinnunga logged a total of 300kg (snatch – 140kg; clean and jerk – 160 kg) to make the podium at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Solihull.

It was a commendable showing by the youngster who hasn’t competed since his gold medal win at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021 in Tashkent. Jeremy had been sidelined with back and knee injuries and CWG 2022 was his first international event in almost seven months.

"I am very proud. I have had an elbow injury for a while, but I prepared well and tried very hard today. I could not reach my best performance [because of his injury] but Jesus helped me get this gold medal," - Jeremy Lalrinnunga.

Jeremy Lalrinnunga showed little signs of rustiness and started strong with a 136kg snatch before upping the ante to 140kg - a new Commonwealth Games record - in his second lift.

His third snatch attempt at 143kg, two kilograms over his personal best in the category, however, ended in failure.

Jeremy Lalrinnunga still took a good 10kg lead over his closest competitor heading into the clean and jerk section, which eventually proved crucial.

The Indian logged 154kg with his first hoist in clean and jerk but in the process, seemed to have injured his leg - a big concern for the lifter who has been grappling with a slew of knee injuries over the past few months.

Jeremy, though, returned for the second lift after receiving brief treatment and successfully lifted 160kg. The Indian was visibly in pain and struggling and failed with his third try at 165kg.

"My coach really motivated me, especially when I got injured during the warm-up. I prayed and cried a lot but now I am now feeling better and am very proud," Jeremy Lalrinnunga said after winning his medal.

Samoa’s Vaipava Nevo Ioane won the silver medal with a total lift of 293kg (127kg+166kg) while Nigeria’s Edidiong Joseph Umofia clinched the bronze with 290kg (130kg+160kg).

Popy Hazarika finishes seventh in women's 59kg

In the women’s 59kg, meanwhile, Popy Hazarika became the first Indian weightlifter to miss out on a podium finish at CWG 2022. She finished seventh with a total lift of 183kgs (snatch – 81kg; clean and jerk – 102kg). The Indian could only register a valid attempt in snatch and clean and jerk each.

Nigeria’s Rafiatu Lawal won the gold medal with a Games record lift of 206kg (90kg+116kg). England’s Jessica Brown clinched silver with a 197kg (86kg+111kg) while Canada’s Tali Darsigny bagged bronze with 196kg (89kg+107kg).

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