Olympic silver-medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu is set to begin her preparations for this year’s Commonwealth Games and the Asiad with a month-long training stint in the USA, starting this week. The 27-year-old and India weightlifting head coach Vijay Sharma will fly to St. Louis, USA on Thursday night for at least a month-long stay. “We have planned for a 4-5 week stay as of now but we can increase it also,” Sharma told PTI.
“We will see how it’s going there. The plan right now is to be there till the last week of April but we will assess the progress after a month and then decide whether we extend our stay or not,” Sharma added.
Chanu, who struggles in the snatch section due to an imbalance that affects her right shoulder and back, had benefitted immensely by consulting Dr. Aaron Horschig, a former weightlifter-turned-physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach in the US ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
In an interview to PTI last month, the diminutive Manipuri had expressed her keenness to work with Dr Horschig once again for rehabilitation and endurance training.
“We are in talks to go in March, which is our off season. I go there keeping in mind the rehab and technique. We have two big tournaments CWG and Asian Games this year,” she had said.
“Yes, we will be working with Dr Horschig again. We will go to him three days a week and then when he is needed we will call him for training,” Sharma said.
Apart from Chanu five other lifters — Jeremy Lalrinnunga, Achinta Sheuli, Sanket Sagar, Bindyarani Devi, and Jhili Dalabehera — are also slated to travel to the US for training but are awaiting their visas.
“Everything is ready, we are just waiting for their visas. SAI has sanctioned everything. We have also requested the Ministry of External Affairs and Secretary Sports to help with the visa for the lifters,” Sharma said.
The former world champion, who was last seen in action at the Singapore Weightlifting International last month, has qualified for the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8, in the 49kg category, in which she won the Olympic silver, as well as the 55kg weight category.
Chanu is a two-time medallist at the CWG, having won a silver in the Glasgow edition in 2014 before clinching the gold four years later at the 2018 Gold Coast Games.
She is expected to compete in the 55kg weight class in order to maximise India’s chances of winning more gold medals in the multi-sport event.
However, with the Asian Games scheduled to begin just a month after the CWG, Chanu is not yet sure if she will switch back to the 49kg class or continue in 55kg in the continental showpiece.