Jeremy Lalrinnunga, who recently turned 16, has been in the limelight ever since he earned India its first-ever gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last year. On Thursday with an aim of reprising his success at the senior level, Jeremy, who had until now only competed in the 62kg weight category, made a switch to the 67kg in the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games. The Mizoram-boy, who generally competes in the under-17 age category, also tested himself in the under-21 age group in Pune.
While he was a standout winner in the under-17 67kg category with a total lift of 278kg, he came off the second best in the under-21 67kg section where his mark of 278kg was 1kg less than what Gulam Navi of Uttarakhand managed to achieve on his way to a gold medal. “I did better than what I had expected. The fact that I missed my second gold medal by only a difference of 1kg against an older opponent makes me happy. I now have the confidence of taking part in senior categories,” he said.
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Jeremy comes from a humble background. His father, Lalneihtluanga, was a boxer of repute in his prime but had to give up the sport due to financial reasons and joined Public Works Department as a Muster Roll labourer.
As a kid, Jeremy also liked boxing but later took to weightlifting in his hometown of Aizawl where he impressed Indian Army’s talent scouting group. Admission to Pune’s Army Sports Institute followed in 2012 and since then he has been there honing his skills.
Despite being a household name back home since his Youth Olympics win, the teenager says he has his feet firmly on the ground. “I feel the same as I used to feel a year ago. I don’t like anything except sports. I have given up studies after class 10th. I want to just get better and better and play for my country in the Olympics,” he said.
First Published: Jan 11, 2019 10:44 IST