Indian Weightlifting at the Olympics: All you need to Know

Utkarsh Bhatla
|Published 04/08/2016

Continuing our series of ‘All you need to know about a particular Olympic sport’, in this article we’ll be focusing on Weightlifting, an activity that an average Indian has seen or performed only in the confines of a gymnasium. But it has more to it, so much more that it is an Olympic sport and provides a medal opportunity for our nation. Let’s preview the chances of the Indian Weightlifting contingent.

Weightlifting Format

The sport is divided into two types of lifts; one is the snatch, where the lifter lifts the barbell above the head in one go and the second is the ‘clean and jerk’, where the barbell is lifted in two movements.

Now, the lifter gets three bites at the cherry in both the types of lifts. And the maximum from each type of lift is taken into account to come up with the aggregate score, i.e an addition is done of the two maximum lifts from each of the two categories in order to come up with the final score for that athlete in a particular body weight category.

History- Weightlifting in Olympics

Weightlifting was initially categorized in the athletics category and it was only in 1920 that it became an event in its own right. At that time the Weightlifting event was divided into one hand and two hand events with both these events having the snatch and the clean jerk variants.

Also, weightlifting was only for women initially and it was only in 2000 when Olympic Weightlifting was introduced for women as well.

Previous Medal Winners for Indian Weighlifting

India has never really been a force to reckon with in Weightlifting, as maybe it is the general body structure of Indian’s that prevents our Weightlifters from achieving glory at the highest level.

But Karnam Maheshwari changed that perception by winning an Olympic bronze in 2000, adnd by doing so she became the first woman athlete to win a medal.

India’s performance in London Olympics 2012

The 2012 games were a big event for the Weightlifting team as the Indian team was allowed to compete after a two-year suspension due to a doping scandal that came to the fore.

India had won 2 berths for the 2012 olympics, with Katulu Ravi Kumar and Nganbam Soniya Chanu representing the nation at London. Ravi Kumar ended up with a rank of 15 in the Men’s 69 kg category and Soniya Chanu secured 7th rank in the women’s 48 kg category.

Indian Weightlifting at Olympics 2016

Satish Kumar Sivalingam
Satish Kumar Sivalingam

Indian weightlifters have earned two quota places for the Rio Olympics, one each in the men’s and women’s category. Sivalingam Sathish Kumar and Saikhom Mirabai Chanu will be the two athletes to represent India in the weightlifting event.

Sivalingam Satish Kumar

Satish Sivalingam is a bright medal prospect for Indian in the Olympic games. A Vellore man, Sivalingam secured gold medal in the Glasgow Commonwealth games in the 77kg category. He broke the Commonwealth record in the snatch lift by lifting 149kg.

He works as a clerk with Southern Railways in Chennai and wants to win a medal for the Country and for his father at Rio 2016.

“I am from a poor family and my father was in the army in a small post. He played at the national championships but failed to win a medal at the international level. He wanted me to win a medal in a big international event”

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu

Saikham Mirabai Chanu part of the Indian Weightlifting contingent will carry the hopes of the nation
Saikham Mirabai Chanu part of the Indian Weightlifting contingent will carry the hopes of the nation

She hails from Manipur and could be a dark horse in the women’s 48kg category. The 21 year old weightlifter won the silver medal at the Glasgow Olympics in 2014.

Country with the best weightlifters- China

Did you Know?

Kim Jong-un wants to start a weightlifting revolution in North Korea especially after North Korea topped the medal standings in the 2014 World Championships. The most stirring fact about this achievement is that they did this whilst on a strict diet of cold noodles and fermented vegetables


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