Three failed attempts cost Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy Lalrinnunga dear as he finished eighth in the 67kg competition at the Asian Weightlifting Championship here on Monday.
The 18-year-old, who owns the Youth World and Asian record in this weight category, lifted 139kg in snatch and 163kg in clean and jerk for a total of 302kg in the gold level Olympic qualifier event which was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Competing in an international meet after 16 months, Jeremy, who became the first Indian to win a gold at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in 2018, effortlessly lifted 135kg, more than double his body weight, in his first snatch attempt only to fluff his second try of 139kg.
However, the Mizo lifter made amends as he successfully lifted 139kg, one kg less than his personal best, in his third and final attempt to finish sixth in the category.
In clean and jerk, Jeremy lifted 163kg in his first try.
In his second attempt, Jeremy once again faltered, failing to lift 168kg, which would have been a kilogram more than his personal best that he achieved at the National Championship in February last year.
Jeremy looked a tad uncomfortable in the warm-up area as the camera panned in on him right before his third and final attempt.
With national coach Vijay Sharma and fellow Indian lifters, including former world champion Mirabai Chanu who won bronze last week, motivating him, Jeremy went for his final lift.
However, the teenager failed to raise the barbell again, clutching his lower back in agony as he walked away from the stage.
Sharma later confirmed that a problem had emerged in Jeremy’s knee during the second clean and jerk lift.
“He couldn’t pull properly in the second lift and that affected his knee. The team physio has looked at it and it’s nothing serious, these things keep on happening to lifters,” Sharma said.
Jeremy, who was placed 22nd in the 67kg category before this event, was competing to improve his points which would help him seal an Olympic berth based on the continental quota.
Despite an underwhelming performance Sharma is confident that Jeremy will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
“According to my calculations, there shouldn’t be any problem (in Jeremy qualifying for Olympics),” he said.