While their home state continues to burn, two precocious weightlifting talents -- Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and Bindyarani Devi Sorokhaibam -- will represent India at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. They are the only Indians to compete in the sport during the 19th Asiad. (Medal Tally | Schedule | Full Coverage)
Mirabai, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic silver medallist, will be competing in the 49kg women’s category. The 29-year-old from Nongpok Kakching in Manipur's East Imphal district will face a stiff challenge from some of the world's finest lifters in the category. China's Jiang Huihua is the overwhelming favourite, while defending champion Ri Song-gum of North Korea, Indonesia's Siti Nafisatul Hariroh and Thai pair -- Thanyathon Sukcharoen and Sanikun Tanasan -- are serious contenders.
Bindyarani is yet to reach the stature of her fellow Manipuri, but the 24-year-old from Langol Ningthou Leikai in Imphal West was once dubbed Mirabai 2.0 for obvious reasons. She won silver at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, and an Asiad medal will further raise her profile. The women's 55kg event is also a fiercely competitive one with lifters from China, Thailand and Korea all among the best in their fields.
India has so far won 14 weightlifting medals at the Asian Games, including five silvers and nine bronzes. Karnam Malleshwari won silver in women's middleweight in 1998, the country's last medal in the event.
Weightlifting events will be held at the Xiaoshan Sports Centre Gymnasium in Huanzhou from September 30 to October 7.
The Indian weightlifters' Hangzhou schedule is as follows.
Indian Weightlifting Squad
Women: Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (49kg), Bindyarani Devi Sorokhaibam (55kg)
Schedule Of Indian Weightlifting At Asian Games 2023
7:30-9:30 – 49kg Group B / 55kg Group B
12:30-14:30 – 49kg Group A | 16:30-18:30 – 55kg Group A
Venue: Hangzhou Gymnasium
Watch the live coverage of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China on Sony Sports Ten 1, Sony Sports Ten 2, Sony Sports Ten 3, Sony Sports Ten 4, and Sony Sports Ten 5 channels. Live streaming is available on Sony Liv.