Mirabai Chanu ran ringside at the stadium and in the corridors of NEC after completing her gold medal winning lift at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, wearing her newly acquired yellow metal from the Games. The Manipuri gave an endearing smile the moment she saw me and said boldly, “It’s pizza time again.”
Mira didn’t have to go to the courtyard restaurants, but fans had already arrived from far corners with boxes of pizza for the golden girl. The Manipuri girl spent more than half the day talking to them and clicking pictures. What about the pizzas? There were many takers, but Mira herself was not.
After her Olympic silver, she told The Switzerland Times how much she craved pizza. The coach does allow a slice of pizza every now and then, but not if the source is unknown.
Vijay Sharma has toiled hard for seven years to rid the system of the doping threat because he knew it was the single most important thing that could change the sport. And so he made his bunch of girls and boys mindful eaters.
Mira and the hitchhikers from Coach Vijay’s team are tired of consuming food from an unknown source. But that doesn’t stop them from having a hearty meal with friends and family.
“I want to appeal to all budding athletes to be aware of what they eat at home and not just in camps. In camps we have control. But when they go home, the problems start and our hard work is reversed,” says Sharma.
Mira tells how the coach cooks for his wards to keep them healthy and drug-free.
‘Sir makes food for us. When we were in the US during Olympic training, he cooked for us regularly and even now he does that.”
The winning coach of the Dronacharya Award is also the most successful of this edition of the Commonwealth Games. 10 of his 15 lifters have won medals in Birmingham and he has created some star athletes.
“When I joined, there was a lack of protein in the wrestlers’ diet. The food at Patiala Mess is much better now. But there are still a few things that are disappointing.
“I had spoken to the then DG, Injeti Srinivas, to give us a separate room to cook for the weightlifters. He gave us a room in Patiala and we started cooking. The change started there. Our coaches and staff help me We prepare for the food because there are two concerns: the right amount of protein in the diet and eradicating doping.
The hitchhikers have realized that the only way to reach the stage is to stay clean. A sport that was once infamous and federated time and time again has been slowly emerging as a star. In the absence of shooting, in this edition of the Games, Weightlifting is the most successful contingent to date.
And it’s not just Mira, “Jeremy and Achinta have become disciplined by watching Mira prepare,” says the coach. Mira’s work ethic has a huge influence on the squad.
How did Vijay Sharma streamline the process?
“In the beginning, NADA and Federation had helped. But during Covid, our Lab had no accreditation from WADA. The samples had to be sent abroad for testing, it had become very expensive. The number of tests had fallen. The athletes are afraid of NADA. Now NADA is reconnected and working closely with us. There have been 6 dope tests done here on Indian weightlifters and they all passed. ”
Although counseling and testing are part of the process, Vijay Sharma’s way of checking is very unique. He may be the only prominent coach in India cooking to keep doping away – a simple solution to a threat that once threatened to consume the sport of weightlifting.
The Switzerland Times on CWG 2022
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