Jeremy Lalrinnunga is an Indian weightlifter from Mizoram. In 2018, he became the first Indian to win a gold at the Youth Olympics. Jeremy won the medal in the men’s 62 kg category, after lifting a weight of 274 kg, 124 kg in snatch and 150 kg in jerk. He has also been a champion at the Khelo Games.
|Full Name||Jeremy Lalneihtluanga Lalrinnunga|
|Sport Category (Current)||62 kg|
|Age||16 (26 October 2002)|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70m)|
Jeremy Larinnunga is the son of a former boxing prodigy Lalneihtluanga.
In the early 1990s, Lalneihtluanga was already a national junior champion, with a 6-year winning streak at the senior level in the All-India YMCA Boxing Championship. Everybody expected him to be a star boxer that would represent India in international championships. However, although he could not make it great on the world stage, he encouraged his 5 sons to pursue a career in boxing.
But destiny had something else written for Jeremy. After two years of rigorous hard work and hours of throwing jabs, Jeremy and his father went for the admission trials at the prestigious Army Institute of Sports (AIS), Pune. The trial went just fine, but the coaches saw a weightlifter in Jeremy, not a boxer. His potential was now realized and Jeremey’s journey began in a sport that he knew nothing about.
It was then that Jeremy chose lifting. Initially, he approached some gym going men to teach him to weight lift. His joy knew no bounds when he got to know that a weightlifting academy had been built in his city. An exciting Jeremy directly approached coach Malsawma Khiangte to teach him to lift the weight.
It was in this state academy that Jeremy’s tryst with weightlifting really took off after his induction in 2011 in Aizawl. The then-8-year-old made substantial progress under the aegis of Malsawma. He learned the basics of weightlifting pretty quickly at the academy. He would practice the techniques taught there with bamboo sticks and water pipes. Using 5 m long 2 cm wide water pipes helped immensely to build a strong foundation, according to Malsawma. Although they were relatively light, the sticks had to be held in a specific manner to balance them, which is a difficult task and needs intense focus.
Training at Army Sports Institute
Eight months into the training and Jeremy was already among three boys that were selected for further training at the Army Sports Institute of Pune. The selection brought happiness in the family, but it also meant that the 9-year-old would have to move away from his home for extended periods of time.
However, the fact that there where 2 more boys from his state helped Jeremy ease into the new setting. At the ASI, he trained under coach Zarzokima. According to his coach, Jeremy weighted just 28 kg when he joined the institute. Although having to stay away from family was tough, it was going to turn out to be a fruitful decision for the youngster.
In 2016, Jeremy managed to set his first national record after he clinched the gold medal at the sub-junior nationals in Patna. In the competition, he lifted 90 kg in snatch and 108 kg in clean and jerk to achieve the feat.
In the same year, Jeremy also went on to win a silver medal at the World Youth Weightlifting Championship in Malaysia. He put up a combined effort of 235kg to win the grey metal.
He backed it up by winning another silver at the same competition in the following year in Bangkok.
Jeremy continued his winning streak of form in 2018 as well after he bagged the silver medal in the youth category at the Asian Youth and Junior Championships, Uzbekistan. The 250kg that he lifted was a national record worthy effort. He also won a gold at the Khelo School Games in 2018.
2018 Youth Olympics
Having performed well at the World Youth Weightlifting Championships, Jeremy was selected for the prestigious Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In the trials of the competition, Jeremy managed to lift a total weight of 273 kg. That figure again rewrote the national history books and set two youth and junior national records.
Even after his record-breaking effort, he promised his coaches to improve on his performance in the event. And Jeremy indeed kept his promise when he put up a combined effort of 274 kg to etch a historic gold at the competition.
He was the first Indian to ever win a gold at the stage, and the only one in the weightlifting department. The epic effort, which came in the form of 124 kg in snatch and 150 kg in Jerk, was just 1 kg short senior national record. To put this in perspective, India’s Raja Muthupandi had to lift just 266 kg to finish 6th in the 62 kg men’s weightlifting category at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“He promised us a medal before leaving for Argentina and this gold medal is bigger than all the medals won in my career,” said Jeremy’s 43-year-old father Lalneihtluanga after his historic gold.
Nonetheless, Jeremy has now shifted his focus on competing and repeat his heroics at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. He has not only moved to Patiala to train with senior wrestlers, but he also plans to shift to a 67 kg category instead of his usual 62 kg category.
Jeremy was born in the Mizoram’s capital city of Aizawl to Lalneihtluanga and Lalmuanpuii Lalrinnunga. Lalneihtluanga was a renowned boxing prodigy of his time. However, he got married early and the added responsibilities induced his unemployment. As a result, the young father had to hang up his gloves. To support the growing family, he started working in PWD, where he would repair and lime wash buildings. Jeremy also has four brothers, with whom he shares a close bond.
|2016||Gold||62||Sub-junior National Championships, Patna|
|2016||Silver||62||World Youth Weightlifting Championships, Malaysia|
|2017||Silver||62||World Youth Weightlifting Championships, Bangkok|
|2018||Gold||62||Khelo India School Games|
|2018||Silver||62||Asian Youth and Junior Championship|
|2018||Gold||62||Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games|