Former champion Mirabai Chanu bettered her own national record but missed out on a place in the podium, finishing a creditable fourth in the women’s 49kg event at the World Weightlifting Championship at Pattaya on Thursday.
The 25-year-old lifted a personal best in all the three sections. In snatch, she lifted 87kg followed by 114kg in clean and jerk for a total of 201kg. Mirabai’s earlier national record was 199kg (88kg+111kg) which she recorded in the Asian Weightlifting Championship in China in April.
The gold medal went to Jiang Huihua of China who set a new world record with an effort 212kg (94kg+118kg). The earlier record was held by Hou Zhihui of China, who had lifted 210kg.
Incidentally Zhihui clinched the silver medal, lifting 211kg (94kg+117kg) in the gold level Olympic qualifier. North Korea’s Ri Song Gum claimed the final spot on the podium by lifting 204kg (89kg+115kg).
After clearing 87kg in snatch, Chanu began her clean and jerk with a 110kg and then lifted 114kg. But in her third attempt, the Manipuri could not lift 118kg and that cost her dear. Had she been successful, she would have won an overall bronze medal with a total of 205kg. She would have also won a silver in the clean and jerk section.
In World Championships and continental championships, medals are awarded separately for snatch, clean and jerk, and total lift. But in the Olympics, medals are awarded only for total lift.
This was Chanu’s fourth international competition in this category after the International Weightlifting Federation re-jigged the weight categories last year. She was earlier competing in 48kg.
Chanu, who had won 48kg gold at the 2017 edition in Anaheim, USA with an overall effort of 194kgs, returned to action in February following a lower-back injury. She had missed the World Championships last year owing to a back injury which had also forced her out of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
Chanu had also clinched the gold medal in 49kg at the Egat Cup, which was the first of the six Olympic qualifying events for her. The other Indian in the fray, Sneha Soren finished second in group D of the women’s 55kg event.
The 18-year-old lifted a 173kg (72kg+101kg) to be placed at the second spot in the eight-woman field of the easiest group competition. In the snatch section, Sneha finished fifth after lifting 72 kgs. However, she was ranked one in the clean and jerk category for her effort of 101kg. Her final standing will be determined after the end of the group A proceedings.