India’s next generation of athletes scripted history not once but twice in the space of 24 hours as weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga and shooter Manu Bhaker picked up the country’s maiden set of gold medals in the Youth Olympics on Tuesday.
The 15-year-old Lalrinnunga shattered the national record in the men’s 62kg category to claim the top honours and announce his arrival at the big stage. Bhaker, on the other hand, rediscovered the form that made her a sensation in the women’s 10m air pistol event.
Lalrinnunga, who is also a world youth silver-medallist, lifted a total of 274kg (124kg +150kg) to finish on top in the Argentine capital on Monday night, which was early on Tuesday morning in India.
The 16-year-old Bhaker shot 236.5 to finish on top of the podium on Tuesday, making up for the heartbreak at the Asian Games in Indonesia and the World Championship where she could not live up to her billing.
“This is an important win for me. It will be a morale booster (after the Asian Games disappointment) as I look forward with an aim to bring home more laurels,” Bhaker said after winning the gold.
Mizo sensation Lalrinnunga, who will turn 16 on October 26, is the son of a former boxer, Lalneihtluanga, who has seven national-level gold medals to his credit.
On Tuesday, Bhaker began the eight-woman final with a 10.0 and followed it up with a 10.1 and 10.4. She led the Stage 1 with 99.3 after a sequence that included seven scores of 10 and above.
In swimming, Srihari Nataraj, who competed in the 100m backstroke final despite being a reserve, could only manage a sixth position. In other events, Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar, India’s representatives in table tennis, won their singles matches of the group stage.
Kamath beat Malaysia’s Javen Choong 4-2 while Thakkar defeated Slovakia’s Aleksandra Vovk 4-1. It was a big win for India in hockey as the team thrashed Austria 9-1.
Rising badminton sensation Lakshya Sen had it tough against Danylo Bosniuk in the first game before he regained his composure to beat the Ukrainian 23-21, 21-8.