Expect Mirabai Chanu to win weightlifting medal in Tokyo: Pal Singh Sandhu

Guwahati: India's first Dronacharya Award winner in weightlifting Pal Singh Sandhu is expecting Mirabai Chanu to end up with a podium finish at the Tokyo Olympics slated to be held later this year.

"The future of weightlifting in India is very bright. We have Mirabai Chanu, who is a world champion and with the grace of God, she will be on the podium in the 2020 Olympics," said Sandhu.

Sandhu lauded the Khelo India Youth Games, saying that the tournament will provide a good back-up to athletes for India's future Olympic medals.

"If the Khelo India Youth Games continue for 10 years, we will have a good back-up for our future Olympic medals. Now, the message has gone to the villages and schools that children should play in the Khelo India Youth Games. I think the Khelo India scheme is a very good scheme," said Sandhu.

However, Sandhu feels that India can unearth more talent if the inter-school games (nationally) are held two-three months before the Khelo India Youth Games.

"I feel inter-school games should be conducted nationally at least two-three months before the Khelo India Youth Games so that the states can unearth even more talent for the Khelo India Youth Games," said Sandhu.

The former weightlifter, who competed for the first time in 1960/61, continues to be a part of the weightlifting circuit as a competition manager in various national and international tournaments in India. Sandhu will turn 80 in April this year.

"I first competed in weightlifting for the Indian Navy team in 1960/61. I have been a senior national champion. I was the coach of the Indian men's and women's teams. Now, I have the responsibility of conducting all the national and international tournaments in India. I am a competition manager or competition director in these competitions," he said.

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