India’s Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu and Birmingham Commonwealth Games champion Achinta Sheuli will be among the four-member Indian weightlifting team for the Asian Games starting in Hangzhou, China, on September 23.
While Chanu will be competing in the 49kg category, Sheuli will be seen in the 73kg category.
The team also features Bindyarani Devi, who won the gold at the 2021 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships. The 24-year-old will compete in the women's 55kg event.
Reigning National Games champion N. Ajith is the final member of the Indian team. The Tamil Nadu weightlifter will compete in the 73kg category alongside Achinta Sheuli.
Despite being a former world weightlifting champion, Commonwealth Games champion and Olympic silver medallist, Chanu will be making her Asian Games debut at Hangzhou. After missing the last edition due to injury, Chanu will be chasing history at the Asian Games.
She returned to competitive action in May after training at St. Louis' SQUAT University under Aron Horschig, undergoing a five-month rehabilitation programme following a hip surgery in December 2022.
She finished sixth in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in May at Jinju, South Korea.
Previously, Chanu held the world record for clean & jerk, which she registered at the 2020 Asian Championships before China’s Huihua Jiang broke her record. Chanu will face tough competition from Jiang at Hangzhou.
Besides Chanu, Bindyarani Devi also won the silver in the women’s 55kg category at the Asian Championships in South Korea back in May.
In their first competition of the year, N. Ajith and Achinta Sheuli were placed ninth and tenth overall, respectively, in the men's 73kg event at the Asian Championships in May.
The Indian weightlifting team may have excelled at the Commonwealth Games last year, winning 13 medals, but the real test for the lifters will be in Hangzhou because the Asian Games will take place right before the Paris Olympics next year, and North Korea, a weightlifting powerhouse, will be returning to both competitions.
Indian Weightlifting Team for 2023 Asian Games:
Men: Achinta Sheuli (73kg), N. Ajith (73kg)
Women: Mirabai Chanu (49kg), Bindyarani Devi (55kg)