NEW DELHI: National weightlifting coach Vijay Sharma is upbeat about India’s medal chances at the Birmingham CWG. The celebrated coach, credited with shaping the career of Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Mirabai Chanu, is expecting a rich medal haul from the country’s 15-member weightlifting contingent at the Games. The Dronacharya awardee is looking at the CWG as a testing ground to prepare a strong team for Paris 2024 and to produce future Olympic champions.
“A lot of new faces are there this time. You have Sanket (Sargar), Jeremy (Lalrinnunga), Achinta (Sheuli), Lovepreet (Singh), Gurdeep (Singh), Bindyarani (Devi), Popy (Hazarika) and Purnima (Pandey) who are immensely talented. These are your future stars and, one day, will go on to represent the country at the Olympics. My endeavour is to prepare a strong team for the future and the Birmingham CWG is just the start. I am confident of a good showing from all of them,” Sharma told TOI from Birmingham.
“The qualification cycle for the Paris Olympics will start with the World Championships in December this year. Every three months we need to participate in a competition… sometimes it could be two (events). The participation in six qualifying events are compulsory in the qualification cycle. The rankings will be decided based on how a weightlifter has fared in these six qualifiers. So, the effort is to maximise our chances for Paris and prepare a strong talent pool,” the coach added.
Sharma acknowledged the com -petition won’t be tough for his lifters at the CWG and that the country would surpass its haul of nine medals achieved at the last edition in Gold Coast.