NEW DELHI: Jeremy Lalrinnunga is India’s new ‘golden’ boy. When the 19-year-old weightlifting sensation from Aizawl won a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 in Buenos Aires, he promised himself that he will continue his golden run for the nation. And, he fulfilled this promise which he had made to himself, in style.
Three years after his Youth Olympic gold medal win, in 2021, when the Mizoram lad went to Commonwealth Championships, he clinched another gold in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Jeremy knew his next big assignment would be the Birmingham edition of the Commonwealth Games. He also changed his phone wallpaper to a CWG gold. Whenever he looked at his phone, the picture of the medal inspired the youngster.
(The CWG gold is Jeremy’s biggest senior-level achievement – PTI Photo)
On Sunday, Jeremy had to endure massive pain in his elbow en route to turning his golden dream into reality at his maiden Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The 19-year-old stamped his domination in the men’s 67kg competition with a total lift of 300kg (140kg+160kg). He finished ahead of Samoa’s Vaipava Nevo Ioane, who managed a total of 293kg (127kg +166kg).
“Abb bass Paris Olympics target hai (My main target is the Paris Olympics now). I am confident that I will win a gold medal at the senior Olympics. The journey to the Paris Olympics has begun,” Jeremy told TimesofIndia.com in an interview from Birmingham.
He was battling muscle cramps in his first two attempts. In his third attempt in the Snatch round, he failed to lift 165kg, picking up a painful elbow niggle in the process.
(Jeremy hurt his elbow on his third clean & jerk attempt – PTI Photo)
“I didn’t follow the other lifters. I was almost crying in pain (due to the elbow pain after a failed attempt). The pain was just too much. I was down on the floor and slowly asked my coach Vijay sir if I had won the gold medal. I was in tears. He said we have won a gold medal and he smiled. I smiled and closed my eyes. His words almost took the pain away completely. When I finally stood up, I hugged him,” an emotional Jeremy further shared with TimesofIndia.com.
“I learnt a lot from the Youth Olympics (2018). It was a huge learning experience. The Senior Olympics will be different, I know that. But I know how to handle pressure now. I know how to perform under pressure. I want to be the first Indian Olympic gold medallist in weightlifting,” Jeremy, who had won the gold medal in the boys’ 62 kg event at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, told TimesofIndia.com.
CALMNESS AND FATHER’S GUIDANCE KEY REASONS BEHIND JEREMY’S SUCCESS
Jeremy looked calm from the beginning of his event at the CWG on Sunday. He had a smile and a look of positivity on his face. He looked confident. He lifted 140kg, a Games record, in the second ‘snatch’ round. He attempted 143kg in the third attempt but failed to lift. In the ‘Clean and Jerk’ round, he successfully lifted 154kg and then 160kg to take his total tally to 300kg, stamping his authority on the competition and put himself in the driver’s seat enroute to the gold medal.
(Jeremy being garlanded by silver medalist Vaipava Nevo Ioane of Samoa as bronze medallist Nigeria’s Umoafia Edidiong looks on – PTI Photo)
Jeremy credits his father for his calm attitude that is driving him forward.
“My father was a state-level boxer. Boxers are generally aggressive but my father told me calmness is the key to success. He asked me to remain calm in every situation. He said anger and aggression should be in your eyes, not behaviour,” Jeremy, who is still in his teens, further told TimesofIndia.com.
MIRABAI CHANU’S SUPPORT
‘Mira didi’s support has been immense’ – a hungry Jeremy said while putting some food on his plate.
Ahead of the event, Jeremy requested Mirabai Chanu to be seated in front of him at the National Exhibition Centre. The Olympic medallist cheered for every lift Jeremy attempted on Sunday.
“I was so happy. Mira didi is an inspiration. I have learned a lot from her. She came to my event and motivated me ahead of the event. She gave me some tips. She told me – ‘Jeremy, gold jitna hai’. I am happy that I did just that. She (Mirabai) is an icon. After the medal ceremony, she congratulated me and hugged me. I will keep learning from her,” Jeremy signed off.