New Delhi: In a historic first for Indian weightlifting, the country will host the prestigious Asian Championship next year, which will also double up as a qualifying event for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the national federation said on Tuesday.
The Championship was awarded to India at the Executive Board Meeting and Congress of the Asian Weightlifting Federation held on April 22 at Urgench, Uzbekistan.
The date and host city of the championship will be announced later.
"Asian Weightlifting Federation has confirmed after the conclusion of Executive Board Meeting of Asian Weightlifting Federation that the 2019 Edition of Asian Senior (Men & Women)
Weightlifting Championships has been allotted to India," Indian Weightlifting Federation Secretary General Sahdev Yadav said in a release.
"It is one of 2020 Olympic Qualification Events where more than 300 weightlifters will showcase their prowess and most of Olympic and Asian Games champions will participate in this prestigious event. It's for the first time in the history of weightlifting that Asian Senior (Men & Women) Weightlifting Championships is being hosted by India," he added.
The event is a shot in the arm for India in a sport whose profile has been on the rise in recent years.
Currently, Asian weightlifters dominate the world in most weight categories and thus the continental championship has now become a prestigious event on the international calendar.
With the rise of reigning world champion Mirabai Chanu (women's 48kg) and a few others as world-class weightlifters, the sport has taken massive strides in the country in recent years.
A good show by India in the arena as well as on the organisational front in the championship would be another big step in the right direction.
The last edition of the Asian Championship was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from April 23-29.
There will be no separate continental championships this year as the events in the Asian Games are counted as Asian Weightlifting Championships of the corresponding year.