Mirabai Chanu won India’s first medal at Tokyo Olympics with a silver in women’s 49kg weightlifting on Saturday, the first official day of action at the Games.
The Indian lifted a total of 202kg to finish second to China’s Hou Zhihui who won the gold with an Olympic record total of 210 kgs.
Mirabai becomes the second Indian to win an Olympic medal in weightlifting after Karnam Malleswari’s historic bronze in *2000 and just the fifth individual to win a silver medal.
The World No 3 started with successful lifts of 84kg and 87kg in the snatch to make the perfect start to her quest for a podium finish. The 26-year-old though failed in her third snatch attempt of 89 kgs
However, her first two lifts were enough to see her be in the second position after the snatch.
A World record holder in clean and jerk in women’s 49kg category, Mirabai was in a good position to finish on the podium once she was in the top places after the snatch.
And Mirabai didn’t disappoint. The Indian made a successful attempt of 110 kg to start off Clean & Jerk before an incredible second lift of 115 kg. In the third attempt, in an attempt to push her limits, Mirabai failed to lift 117kg but still did enough to win a silver medal at the Tokyo Games.
It’s been a remarkable turnaround for Mirabai who couldn’t register a total at Rio Olympics five years ago.
But fast forward to 2021, Rio seems like a long-forgotten memory; perhaps even a memory from a different life. She is a weightlifter reborn.
In 2017, she created history at the World Weightlifting Championships held in Anaheim, United States when she became only the second Indian in 22 years to clinch a gold at the World Weightlifting Championships after Malleswari.
Malleswari had achieved this feat twice, in 1994 in Turkey, and in China in 1995.
In 2018, Chanu lifted a total of 196 kg, 86 kg in snatch and 110 kg in clean and jerk to win the first gold medal for India in the Commonwealth Games 2018. She also broke the record for the weight category.
In 2019, at the Asian Weightlifting Championships, she won bronze in clean and jerk in the 49 kg Category. The total weight of 199 kg was her best then.
In 2021, she went past the 200 kg barrier at the Asian Championships during which she set a new world record for her category in clean and jerk section.
“I am very happy, I have been dreaming of this for the past five years. I am very proud of myself right now. I did try for gold but even silver is a great achievement for me,” Chanu told reporters after her career-defining triumph for which she had been training in the US for past few months.
“I am very happy, I have been dreaming of this for the past five years. I am very proud of myself right now. I did try for gold but even silver is a great achievement for me,” Chanu told reporters after her career-defining triumph for which she had been training in the US for past few months, PTI reported.
Zhihui with an effort of 210kg (94kg+116kg) created Olympic records in all three categories (snatch, clean and jerk and Total). “I’ve tried many times to beat her. I failed one attempt (on clean & jerk) but I was trying very hard to beat her,” Chanu said later. Aisah Windy Cantika of Indonesia took home the bronze with an effort of 194kg (84kg+110kg).
With PTI inputs
Clarification: Karnam Malleswari’s bronze came in Sydney 2000.