The Indian weightlifting team is optimistic about gaining two Olympic slots from the Asian championships in Pyeongtaek, Korea, from April 24-30.
Besides being well-prepared, the Indian side draws its confidence from the fact that the top Asian countries have already earned their tickets to the Olympics by virtue of their good showing in the last two World championships.
In the men's section, nine Asian countries — China , Iran, Korea (six places each), Uzbekistan, North Korea, Indonesia (five each), Kazakhstan (four), Turkmenistan and Thailand (three each) — have already made the cut.
In the women's section, seven nations — China, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Korea, Japan (four each), Chinese Taipei and North Korea (three each) — from the continent have qualified.
In the Asian championship, the lone Olympic qualifying event for the continent, the top seven countries in the men's section and the top six among women will gain one quota place each.
“We are sure of getting one slot. We have been doing well at Asian level. Besides, most of the big countries are not in the race,” said Indian men's coach Jaswant Singh hours before the team's departure to Pyeongtaek on Saturday.
Jaswant said motivating all the lifters for one slot was not an issue.
“The highest ranked lifter from the country will go to the Olympics (the cut-off date for world rankings is May 15). So, everybody is in the race.”
Jaswant said India had a good chance of scoring Olympic qualification points in 56kg, 62kg, 69kg and 77kg.
Women's coach Hansa Sharma was also hopeful of one berth. “There is some improvement in the performance of Soniya (Chanu) and Sanjita (Chanu) in 48kg. We are positive about Monika Devi in 69kg.”
“The team is in good spirits and the lifters are ready to give their best for the country,” she said.
The team: Men: Ranjit Chinchwade (56kg), Rustam Sarang (62kg), K. Ravi Kumar (69kg), S. Sathish Kumar (77kg), Jasvant Singh (85kg), Chandrakant Mali (94kg), V.A. Christopher (105kg), Himanshu Kumar Chang (+105kg).
Women: N. Soniya Chanu and K. Sanjita Chanu (48kg), Tikina Gopal (53kg), Minati Sethi (58kg), Seeta Kumari Jena and Rajwant Kaur (63kg), L. Monika Devi (69kg).
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics