Chanu Didi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and his father: Jeremy Lalrinnunga’s sources of inspiration for CWG 2022 gold

After winning the gold medal in the 67kg men’s weightlifting category on Sunday, Jeremy Lalrinnunga revealed that Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Mirabai Chanu has been a big source of inspiration for him.

Didi (Chanu) motivates me a lot. I have had the opportunity to learn a lot from her,” he said at a press conference. “She had met me and wished me luck before the event. During my round, she was standing right in front of the audience with the Indian flag. She guides us all the time.”

Chanu herself had a successful outing at the CWG this year, winning the gold medal in the 49kg women’s category by a landslide. Her total of 201kg was 29kg more than silver medallist, Mauritius’ Roilya Ranaivosoa.

Like Chanu, Jeremy was in pole position right from the beginning, after he lifted a games record of 140kg in the snatch event, 10 kg more than anyone else. Things became much more complicated in the clean-and-jerk stage, when he was forced to battle muscle cramps and an elbow injury to be able to lift 160kg and get over the line.

The 19-year-old revealed that he was unable to do his warmup ahead of the clean-and-jerk and that his coach, Vijay Sharma, had to make exact calculations as to how much he needs to lift to secure the gold. His elbow issue, he said, is a minor muscle pull problem from which he expects to recover quickly.

Physical issues have been a part of Jeremy’s short career so far. He has been reeling from back and neck injuries this year, but credits his physio and coaches, as well as the training regimens he has been under for the last month in Birmingham.

“As athletes, we can’t focus on injuries. They keep happening. Our job is to focus on rehab, and do our best. I did that,” he said.

Jeremy has credited his success to his family, having not met them over the past two years while training. Immediately after winning gold, he dedicated the medal to his grandparents, whom he says have been pillars of support ever since he went to Buenos Aires in 2018, where he won India’s first-ever Youth Olympics gold.

When asked who his favourite athlete is, the 19-year-old said, in addition to footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, it was his father, Lalneihtluanga, who himself has been a national-level boxer.

“My father is my first inspiration. He had plenty of national-level medals (in boxing) and I have always felt his support. His advice has meant a lot to my career,” he said.

He says he plans a short trip of one to go home and meet his family to celebrate before he gets back to training. The 19-year-old, who had a picture of the Commonwealth Gold medal as the screensaver on his phone to motivate him, says his next target is the Paris Olympics in 2024, but he says he is not thinking that far ahead just yet.

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