Lifter Kunjarani to Make Comeback at 40, Aims CWG Gold


New Delhi, Jan 27: Having virtually disappeared from the scene after her gold-winning feat at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games three years ago, 40-year-old Kunjarani Devi now wants to defy age and trains her gun on defending her title in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The pint-sized 48kg lifter has won all the gold medals in the Commonwealth Games in her weight category after women's weightlifting was first introduced in Manchester in 2002.

She won three gold in Manchester where one medal each was allotted for snatch, clean and jerk, and total lift, before winning the yellow metal in Melbourne where only the total lift carried a medal.

Kunjarani said she is confident she would gain top form in the 20 months left for the Commonwealth Games at home.

"I have started serious training since December last year. I want to defend my gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and stand on the victory podium before my home crowd," she said in an interview.

Kunjarani will be 42 when the Commonwealth Games is held in October next year in Delhi, but the Manipuri lifter said her body is still in good shape and she is lifting a good weight in training.

"I know myself that I still have the capability to win gold in Delhi next year. My body has not said no I should not be doing this. I am lifting the minimum necessary weight from where you can go for more. Otherwise I would not have thought of making a comeback," said the Delhi-based Rajiv Khel Ratna awardee.

"My career-best has been the 190kg in Athens Olympics. That is still the best among Commonwealth lifters. I won gold with 166kg in Melbourne and I am lifting not much less than that now," explained the CRPF Deputy Commandant.

Kunjarani, who was last in action in the All India Police Games in Jalandhar in October 2006, though is not taking part in the Senior Nationals starting in Pune from January 28 because of the one-year ban that has been imposed on Police.

Five of the Police lifters flunked dope tests in the All India Police Games in Haryana last year which attracted one-year ban from the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

"I am targeting National Games in Jharkhand (to be held in June) for my comeback to competition mode. After that there are many national and international events lined up before the Delhi Commonwealth Games," she said.

"I have to take part in some national competitions otherwise IWF may not allow me to take part in CWG. So I will take part in the National Games," she said.

Kunjarani said she was concentrating more on the Delhi Games and not thinking much of the Asian Games in China - to be held after the Commonwealth Games - where the competition is much tougher.

"I am not thinking much about the Asian Games. I will concentrate on winning gold in Commonwealth Games," she said.

Kunjarani also feels that Indian women would dominate the lifting event in 2010 CWG.

"Except for one or two categories (out of seven) we should dominate. It should be better than Melbourne," she said.

She spends at least four hours a day training, out of which she devoted two hours lifting barbells at the CRPF headquarters here.

"Morning is one-hour outdoor warm up and running and then another one hour lifting barbells. In the evening I have another light warm up and then lifting again," she said. 


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Title: Lifter Kunjarani to Make Comeback at 40, Aims CWG Gold

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