Birmingham, July 31: Sunday proved an emotional roller-coaster ride for Indian weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga. He started the day with a muscle pull in his thigh and hips, excruciating pain that brought tears to his eyes. He later developed cramps the lower part of his body
But the day ended for Jeremy Lalrinnunga on a happy note, despite competing in the Men’s 67kg class with the injury in a dazed condition, the 19-year-old from Aizwal, Mizoram, claimed the gold medal with a Commonwealth Games record total of 300kg.
Lalrinnunga aggravated his thigh and hip injury while attempting to lift 160 kg on his second attempt in clean and jerk after lifting a total of 140 in snatch. He fell on the platform soon after completing his lift and had to be escorted out by coach Vijay Sharma. He tried to lift 165 on his third attempt but failed, ending with another injury to his right elbow.
However, Lalrinnunga was happy to win the gold medal despite the testing conditions he faced on Sunday and emerged the winner. It was his maiden gold medal in Commonwealth Games and his first after winning the gold medal in the Youth Olympic Games in 2018.
“After youth Olympics, I haven’t achieved such a big thing like this. This is my first medal at the senior level competition and I have had to face a few injuries. People kept asking me, when are you going to bring medals after the youth Olympics? And I kept working hard to win a medal for my country. I couldn’t give the performance as I expected but I’ve achieved what I wanted to,” said the 19-year-old who is employed with the Indian Army as a Subedar.
“I am really happy to win the gold medal considering that I was barely able to walk since the morning, suffering from a lot of pain. This is my first gold medal in the Commonwealth Games and after the Youth Olympics, I did not get many chances to compete in such multi-sport events in between,” he said, who took the help of the team physio to treat the muscle pull and cramps.
“I am very proud. I have had an elbow injury for a while, but I prepared well and tried very hard today. I could not reach my best performance [because of his injury] but Jesus helped me get this gold medal.”
Lalrinnunga gave credit to his coach Vijay Sharma for motivating him to go for gold despite the injury.
“My coach really motivated me, especially when I got injured during the warm-up. I prayed and cried a lot but now I am feeling better and am very proud.
“I am pleased with that total (300kg). I prepared for this competition lifting as much as 315-320kg. In the end, that total was enough and I am very happy,” said Lalrinnunga, who now sports blond tip hair style, after the event.
As he struggled to compete because of the injury, Lalrinnunga fed on the crowd support as he went around completing his routine. He also fed on the vociferous support from a group of Indian fans.
“It was amazing to hear so many people here cheering me,” he said.