India’s teen weightlifter Lalrinnunga reveals he was in immense pain due to cramps and muscle tightness before clinching gold in 67 kg category with new CWG record
India’s Jeremy Lalrinnunga celebrates winning the gold medal in the 67kg final yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
After Manipuri twins, Mirabai Chanu and Bindiyarani Sorokhaibam on the first day of the weightlifting, it was Mizoram’s young superstar, Jeremy Lalrinnunga, 19, who took centre stage and added a second gold to India’s tally at the 22nd Commonwealth Games. His success in the men’s 67kg category meant a fifth medal for India in as many weight categories.
Interestingly, Jeremy fought cramps and tightness and almost had an injury scare en route to his gold medal show. “After I failed the last [C&J] lift, I cried a lot and asked the coach [Vijay Sharma] ‘medal aya ki nahin?’ [Did we get a medal]. The coach told me ‘gold hai hamara’ [Gold is ours] and that soothed my nerves,” said Jeremy moments after his victory.
‘I was unable to walk’
Speaking of his pain before the gain, he said: “Till the Snatch, I was going well, but suddenly I developed muscle cramps in Clean & Jerk. Maybe, because of that, I was unable to walk, but the coach egged me on.” The intense competition reduced the Indian strongman to tears. “When my opponent went for 174kg, I just completely blanked out. I was clueless about what was going on around me. I cried a lot. My coach managed all my weights and ensured that I landed the medal safely. He was very good at calculating and ensured there was no self-doubts,” said Jeremy, whose 300 kg total (140 kg plus 160kg) fetched him and India the gold. The reigning 2018 Youth Olympics champion also set a new Games record in the bargain.
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Vaipava Ioane Nevo, who was unable to leave his country, Samoa, throughout the Covid-19 phase due to the restrictions, failed at 174kg after hoisting 166kg following a 127kg in Snatch. A successful 174kg lift would have given him the gold at 301kg. Nigeria’s Edidiong Joseph Umofia clinched the bronze with 290kg (130kg plus 160kg).