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Mirabai Chanu not fit for Asian Games: coach tells IWF

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World Champion Mirabai Chanu’s participation at the Asian Games took a big jolt after India chief coach Vijay Sharma asserted on Monday that the Commonwealth Games gold-medallist must pull out of Jakarta event to be fit for the Olympic qualifiers, slated to be held later this year.

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The 23-year-old weightlifter from Manipur is reportedly struggling with an unidentified lower-back problem since May and is yet to begin full-fledged training for the Asian Games, which starts on August 18.

“I have submitted a report to the federation. Now they have to take a decision. I am of the opinion that in such less time it’s not good to take the heavy load. The Olympic qualifiers event is approaching and that is more important than the Asian Games,” Sharma told PTI.

Sharma added that Mirabai had travelled to Mumbai just last week to start her training for the Asiad event but once again is suffering from a lower-back injury and he doesn’t want to aggravate the injury.

The Olympic qualifiers start with the World Championship event, in which Mirabai is the defending champion in the women’s 48-kg category. The championship is scheduled to be held in Ashgabat from November 1.

Last year Mirabai created a new Indian record by becoming the first women from the country to win the World Championship in the last 22 years. She lifted 194kg (85+109kg) to win the gold.

“She is in constant touch with the federation. She was okay but felt slight pain yesterday in training. She stopped training but has resumed it again today,” added Sharma.

“Doctors across the country were unable to diagnose the cause of pain in her back.

“It is a rare problem, the doctors say there might be a small tear in the ligament. That is why the MRI’s and CT scans are coming clean,” Sharma said.

Among the strong contenders for a gold medal in Jakarta, Mirabai’s loss will be a huge setback for India at the continental event.

Meanwhile, IWF Secretary Sahdev Yadav said final decision regarding her participation will be taken by Thursday.

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