India’s Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is gearing up for the Asian Weightlifting Championships, an Olympic qualifying meet, in April following the treatment of her recurring back issues in the USA.
The former world champion was dealing with a lower back problem since her title-winning performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. While the injury forced Mirabai Chanu to miss the Asian Games and the World Championships that year, the Manipur lifter returned to action at the 2019 Asian championships.
However, her back issue once again flared up just ahead of the national camp in October last year.
This time though, the Indian team management decided to send Mirabai Chanu on a training-cum-treatment tour of the USA, where she worked with noted physiotherapist Dr Aaron Horschig.
“The trip to the USA has benefitted Mira. She is training with a lot more confidence,” head coach Vijay Sharma, who accompanied Mirabai Chanu, told Sportstar.
“In India, when we approached an expert, they asked the lifter to stop her training before starting any treatment. The best part about the USA trip was Mira continued with her training even as she got treated,” Sharma added. “The focus of the treatment was only strengthening of muscles.”
The Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan will be Mirabai Chanu’s sixth Olympic qualifying event. A good show will lift her chances to make it to Tokyo 2020 later this year.
Ranked fourth in the 49kg category, the Indian weightlifter is in prime position to make the cut for the Games along with the 2018 Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy Lalrinnunga.