He might be only 17, but for Jeremy Lalrinnunga, there’s always a lot riding on whenever he steps on the platform to lift the barbell bars weighing much more than his body weight.
Ever since breaking into the scene with a gold medal-winning performance at the 2018 Youth Olympics, where he became only the second Indian to win individual gold, Lalrinnunga has been a busy man.
The Aizawl lad has been the torchbearer for Indian weightlifting along with his senior pro, Saikom Mirabai Chanu. But there’s never a dearth of inspiration for this young man.
Born into a family of athletes, all Lalrinnunga’s doing is fulfilling his father’s dream. “My father has been the biggest inspiration in my career. He has backed me fully since the time I decided to take up weightlifting,” he said in a statement released by Khelo India, a pan-India age-group competition organised by the sports ministry of the country.
“He was a boxer so he has shared all his experience of being a sportsperson with me. He was a Junior champion, but unfortunately, he didn't go on to play for India and therefore I am fulfilling his dream.”
Having endured a rather quiet season with two silver medals, one of which came at the Qatar International Cup and the other at the EGAT’s Cup, the Indian has trained his eyes at booking a berth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “I am preparing to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the moment. The last Olympic qualifying event will be held in April next year. I am training for that competition,” said the 67kg weightlifter.
Khelo India, an initiative to provide young talents in India with a platform to showcase their skills, has been received well by the Indian sporting community in India. In fact, for Lalrinnunga, it was this national-level competiton that proved to be the springboard for his career.
The youngster competed in the 62kg and 67kg in the two editions respectively, winning a gold and a silver in the process. “Khelo India Youth Games is a very good experience for young athletes. The competition is like an international-level tournament. It's a very good competition,” he concluded.