Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Women weightlifters outshine men in world championships

This piece was published in Sportskeeda

It was always going to be a tough outing for the Indian weightlifters at the 2015 World Weightlifting Championship in Houston, USA, and the country’s weightlifters experienced it the hard way, dishing out a disappointing performance finishing well out of medal contention in most of the weight categories. In fact, one has to say that the Indian women weightlifters outshone their male counterparts, as they fought hard and capped off respectable finishes.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu put up the best performance from among the otherwise listless showing of the Indian contingent, finishing ninth in the 48 kg. The 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, thus improved on her 11th place finish at the 2014 World Weightlifting Championship, hosting a total weight of 183 kg, while her team-mate and 2014 Commonwealth Game gold medallist Sanjita Chanu took the 14th position with a total lift of 179 kg.

Punam Yadav was another women lifter, who improved her position by five slots, finishing 15th in the 63kg category – she had settled for 20th spot in the 2014 World Weightlifting Championship. Santoshi Matsa found the going tough and finished 19th in the 53 kg category. “Our women weightlifters were expected to do well, at least improve on their previous performances in the world championships and so it is not a surprise to see them well. Our men lifters were anyway not expected to be in medal contention,” says a former Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) coach.

The country’s men weightlifters struggled to make their presence felt. Promising Arunachali youngster Jamjang Deru was the best performer among the men lifters, finishing 20 in the 56 kg category - 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sukhen Dey, a much more experienced campaigner than Jamjang Deru, turned in a downbeat performance, finishing 26th. India’s biggest hope - 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sathish Sivalingam- failed to get any position in the 77 kg category – a huge disappointment for the country in a category where talented Arunachali youngster Kojum Taba finished 37th. Kojum Taba is an exciting youngster, who stunned Sathish Sivalingam in the 2015 Senior National Weightlifting Championship.

Another talented youngster - Deepak Lather – settled for 42nd position in the 62 kg. Assam lad Papul Changmai finished 37th in the 69 kg category. “Jamjang Deru, Kojum Taba and Deepak Lather have all come through the junior ranks and for them the 2015 World Weightlifting Championship is more of a learning curve than gunning for a medal. I’m sure they will be richer with the big tournament experience,” the former coach added.

Perhaps, the only solace is that the likes of Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and Punam Yadav have improved on their previous positions in the 2014 World Weightlifting Championship.
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