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Commonwealth Games 2022: Gold Jeremy-nation

Express News Service

CHENNAI: It was the wee hours of a wintry night in October four years ago. Most people in the salubrious hill station of Aizawl in Mizoram were asleep. But there was one house that was abuzz. The home of the Lalrinnunga family on the outskirts of Aizawl was milling with people. No, not to watch TV. The event was not live. Yet the family and friends followed the results of Jeremy Lalrinnunga at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. They were checking his results on the phone and whatever devices they could get hold of. And they celebrated his gold in unison.

Four years later, on a balmy Sunday afternoon, the Lalrinnunga family’s place was again abuzz. But this time everyone was glued to the TV. The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was live. Like in 2018, Jeremy didn’t disappoint this time too. Of course, the celebration was louder and more emotional.
The 19-year-old shattered two Games records (140kg in snatch and overall lift of 300kg in 67kg) on way to gold on debut.

“Everybody watched his performance on TV,” Malsawma Khiangte, Jeremy’s childhood coach, told this daily. Like most journeys, Jeremy’s was fraught with hurdles. In the last four years since the Youth Olympic medal, he had met his family only a couple of times. He last visited Aizawl in June 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Even on reaching, he stayed at a sports training centre for 14 days away from family. But one thing he never missed was training.

After failing to qualify for Tokyo 2020, Jeremy battled injuries just before the CWG. He had a bad back injury earlier this year. Even during his event, he was grimacing in pain. He suffered a muscle pull that cast doubt over his gold medal haul. The anxiety of a teenager was visible.

“I completely blanked out and was clueless about what was going on. I cried a lot (after the failed attempt in clean and jerk),” Jeremy said later. “I never followed the other lifters, it was painful. I asked the coach ‘medal aya ke nahin?’ (did I get a medal?) Coach sir told me ‘gold hai hamara’ (‘you have won the gold) .” He let out a loud yell.

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