The Executive Board of the International Weightlifting Federation has decided against extending the Tokyo Olympics qualification period beyond the April 30, 2020 deadline but has proposed a few changes to the existing system and are awaiting the International Olympic Committee’s approval.
Though the world body had made it clear that the final guidelines would be circulated to the athletes and the member federations once the approval is granted, Indian Weightlifting Federation secretary general Sahdev Yadav feels the modified system should help 2017 world champion Mirabai Chanu (women’s 48 kg) and Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy Lalrinnunga (men’s 67 kg).
“The future of all Olympic qualifying events looks bleak now. Going by the current world and Asian continental rankings, Mirabai Chanu and Jeremy seems to have made the Olympic cut. Rakhi Haldar (64kg) could have accumulated important ranking points had the Asian championships been organised, but now, her qualification looks difficult,” Yadav was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.
Yadav’s confidence about the qualification chances of the above lifters seems to emanate from IWF’s statement after their meeting on March 17-18 that the new framework recommended by the IWF Sport Commission aligns as closely as possible to the original framework.
According to the original qualification system, lifters could earn ranking points from various weightlifting events divided into three periods (November 1, 2018-April 30, 2019; May 1, 2019-October 31, 2019; November 1, 2019-April 30, 2020). Each lifter had to participate in a minimum of six events that include at least one gold level competition across the three periods. The athletes also had to at least participate in one tournament in each period.
Based on the final rankings on April 30, 2020, the top eight lifters were to get a direct berth for Tokyo along with five continental representatives and one from either the host country or Tripartite Commission invitation.
As things stand now, Chanu is ranked fourth in the world. However, it is difficult to understand how Jeremy would make the cut since he is ranked 22nd as on March 20, 2020.