Pakistani weightlifter Talha eyes Olympics berth

20-year-old optimistic after topping Group B at Asian Weightlifting Championships

Natasha Raheel April 24, 2019
COUNTRY OVER SELF: Talha Talib has said that he wants to earn plaudits for Pakistan with his performances worldwide. PHOTO COURTESY: TALHA TALIB

KARACHI: Top weightlifter 20-year-old Talha Talib believes that he can qualify for the Olympics as he became the first Pakistani to finish at the top of his Group B this week at the Asian Weightlifting Championships Qualification event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Although, in overall rankings out of the 20 weightlifters, he finished on eighth.

The youngster not only made new national records by lifting 304kg with 140 in snatch and 164kg in clean and jerk, he also improved with 13kgs from his last outing.

Talha Talib becomes first Pakistani to top his group in Olympics Qualifiers

"I can qualify for the Olympics," the 2018 Commonwealth bronze medallist told The Express Tribune from China where he was competing at the event in Ningbo. "I’m happy with the progress, we need to compete at these six events to qualify, so far I'm done with two. There are going to be points, and there are lots of them to earn. I have improved from the last time I competed in Egypt."

In his Group B, Talha beat India's Jeremy Lalrinnunga, a feat he was chasing, and he said he felt proud to be making progress on international events, while his eyes are on the Olympics.

"I want to get to the Olympics and that is my aim. I've even left studies, because it is not easy to be focusing on this dream, but I want to get there, and I'm training very hard, this is the first Olympic qualifiers since I started weightlifting as a profession, so I'm very excited. Even at the Asian Championships, I was one of the youngest weightlifters so it is bringing confidence to me," said Talha.

Talha was attempting to make a new record in clean and jerk with 167kg but it was not his day, however, he feels that he will be improving on his techniques every day.

"I wanted to make that record with my third attempt," explained Talha. "But I felt that my back was in pain, and there was stiffness, so it became a little difficult. It was stress as well, but I tried. I just thought I should go for the record with 167kg. But I’ll improve, 13kgs has been my best improvement so far."

Talha bags gold in snatch, overall silver in weightlifting championship

But above all, Talha said that his motivation comes from the fact that he wants to do something for his country.

"My father always tells me, ‘forget yourself, just remember Pakistan’," concluded Talha.

Pakistan have been fielding two weightlifters at the Asian Championship, the second athlete is Nooh Dastagir Butt, who will be taking on the competition in the heaviest category, +109kgs.


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