Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu to train in USA ahead of Tokyo Olympics

The stint in Kansas is also expected to help in Chanu’s rehabilitation from her long-standing back injury.

By Utathya Nag

Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu to set to train in the USA in order to pursue her medal dreams at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

As part of 'Mission Olympic Cell' - the Sports Authority of India's initiative to support podium prospects - Rs 40 lakhs has been awarded to the 2017 World Championships gold medal-winning weightlifter Mirabai Chanu.

This will help facilitate a two-month overseas training programme in Kansas, USA where she will be joined by her coach and physiotherapist.

The session is also expected to help Tokyo medal hopeful Chanu’s rehabilitation and recovery from a long-standing back injury, which forced her to miss the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.

“We are completely focussed on providing the best facilities to our Olympic-bound athletes,” Indian sports minister Kiren Rijiju said.

“It was felt by the experts on the committee that Mirabai can get the best rehabilitation programme in the US along with training, and therefore her coach and physio are also accompanying her. I am sure this exposure will help her greatly in her Olympic preparation.”

Chanu, who competes in the women’s 49kg category, will be eyeing to seal a spot for Tokyo at the final Olympic Asian qualifier tournament, which will be held at Kazakhstan’s Nur-Sultan in April 2021.

Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu.

Help for boxing, shooting, hockey, badminton and para sports

A financial package for a similar three-month training session, which started September 7, in the US has also been ratified for boxer Vikas Krishan.

Krishan, already a Tokyo Olympics quota place holder, has already secured approval from the SAI to train in the US with personal coach Ron Simms Jr. The Indian pugilist is training at the Alexandria Boxing Club in Virginia.

Apart from Chanu and Krishan’s foreign exposure trips, the committee has also allocated funds for Indian shooters hopeful for Tokyo to procure ammunition so they can train at their home shooting ranges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also sanctioned proposals from Anjum Moudgil and Mairaj Ahmad Khan for equipment and training requirements.

For badminton, the participation of Kidambi Srikanth, Saina Nehwal and Lakshya Sen in the Danish Open Super 750 was sanctioned. Sen’s training in Denmark and participation in the SaarLorLux Open was also approved.

The MOC also sanctioned RB Kannan’s three-month-long appointment as the interim physiotherapist of the Indian men’s hockey team after the departure of David MacDonald – the team’s foreign physio.

For para sports, it sanctioned the coaching fees of Indian para high jumper Sharad Kumar’s coach Yevhen Nikitin till the Tokyo Paralympics for a period of one year.