Mirabai Chanu and Jeremy Lalrinnunga, the two best weightlifters of the country have hit an unexpected roadblock in their qualifying path for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The International Weightlifting Federation has stripped the weightlifting competition at the upcoming South Asian Games in Nepal of its Olympic qualification status for not adhering to its ‘whereabouts’ rule concerning dope testing of athletes.
Now, India will send a second-string team to the competition with Chanu and Lalrinnunga missing from the squad. They will now participate in the International Cup in Doha, Qatar from December 19 to 24, which will now act as a qualification event, the Times of India reported.
“We were expecting such a problem,” Indian weightlifting coach Vijay Sharma said. “So we had entered in the Doha competition beforehand. It does not hurt our chances to qualify.”
The SAG will be held from December 1 to 10 and India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and hosts Nepal are the participating nations. The weightlifting competition was a ‘silver level’ Olympic qualification.