THE national weightlifting team have been consistently lifting at least one gold medal in the last three Commonwealth Games and they hope to keep the good track record when they compete in New Delhi from Oct 3-14.
And the lifter with the task to ensure they come back with at least a gold medal is Amirul Hamizan, the triple gold medallist at the Manchester Games in 2002.
Amirul was not in the Melbourne Games as he was serving a two-year suspension at that time after testing positive for steroids.
In 1998 Hidayat Hamidon gave Malaysian the gold medal in the 69kg category while Amirul kept that going with three gold medals in the 56kg category.
In 2006, in the absence of Amirul, the 56kg gold medal was won by Mohd Faizal Baharom.
National coach Zakaria Yusof said yesterday that they are targeting a few medals from the sport but will not commit on the possibility of winning a gold.
“Yes, we are sure to have a chance in a few of the categories and will be going all out to get a gold medal. Amirul is one of the potential winners in the 56kg category.
“We certainly have the potential to be among the medal winners and it is better we stay focused on the task and not make any predictions at the moment,” he said.
Some of the lifters have stayed back to train in Kuala Lumpur while others are in China training under Chinese coach Lin Xinhui.
The Malaysians will take part in all eight categories in the men’s event while they will have six female lifters in the women’s section. There are a total of eight medals at stake in the men’s category and seven for the women.
Amirul competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was placed eighth with a haul of 121kg. It was a national record and also his personal best effort.
Based on that record Amirul is confident he will be among the medallists.
“I am not saying it will be a sure thing but there is a good chance for me to win. I do not see any pressure on me to deliver but I will certainly like to keep up our record of winning at least one gold medal in the Games,” said Amirul yesterday at the NSC Gymnasium.
The other lifter with the potential of winning a gold medal is Arrico Jummith.
Arrico and Amirul are also the only lifters to have made the cut for the Asian Games.
Zakaria pointed out that the standard of the competition in the Asian games was higher than the Commonwealth Games. That was why Malaysia are sending more lifters to the Commonwealth Games.
“The Asiad standard is almost world class. China, Thailand, Indonesia and Indian lifters have won at the world level and as such are more competitive.
“At the Commonwealth Games our main opposition will come from India in the lower weight categories.
“Australia, have to a certain extend, good lifters too,” said Zakaria.
While the men lifters are targeted for gold Zakaria said that the women lifters can surprise by adding some medals.
“But gold is definitely not within our female lifters’ reach as the Indians are too strong. But we could surprise with a bronze. We will have to see the form of the day,” he aid.
The women lifters are new to the scene as they only started taking part in 2006.
Zakaria added that they are just starting out with the women lifters and there is still a long way for them to go.
All said and done the lifters are in a good mood. The national team have not taken part in any international competitions this year and the Delhi Games will be their first.
“We wanted to keep the lifters under wraps and not to reveal their strength.
“It is just a strategy and we hope it will pay off. There is no need to worry about the lack of competition. Our lifters will be ready for the challenge in New Delhi.”
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