Olympic medal hopeful and former world champion Mirabai Chanu on Tuesday bettered her own national record by lifting a total of 203kg to win the 49kg gold in the National Weightlifting Championships in Kolkata.
The 25-year-old Manipuri, representing Railways, lifted 88kg in snatch in her second attempt and 115kg in clean and jerk for a total of 203kg.
Mirabai’s previous best of 201kg had come at the World Championship in Thailand in September last year, where she had finished fourth.
Tuesday’s effort has put her in fourth place in world rankings behind Chinese Jiang Huihua (212kg) and Hou Zhihui (211kg) and Korean Ri Song Gum (209kg).
Mirabai, who won gold in the 2017 World Championships, was targeting 207kg but lost her balance in the final attempts of both the snatch and clean and jerk.
She started off by easily lifting 85kg in snatch, and raised the weight to 88kg for her second attempt, which was one kg more than the national record and her personal best of 87kg.
Mirabai looked calm as she entered the stage with a big scream and she lifted it at one go. The bar was raised by another 2kg to 90kg but this time, she lost balance and could not complete the attempt for a good lift.
She, however, looked supremely confident in her favourite clean and jerk as she raised the weight from 111kg to 115kg in her first two successful attempts, thereby bettering her previous national record of 114kg.
In her final clean and jerk attempt, Mirabai first went for 116kg but after a quick thinking, she opted for 117kg with national coach Vijay Sharma cheering her strongly.
She made a clean lift to the rack position and took a long five-second pause before going for the jerk. She, however, failed in her attempt to settle for a total of 203kg, bettering three national records in the process.
“I still have some time left for the Asian Championships and I hope to get there (210 kg) before the Olympics,” Mirabai told reporters.
“Everything is going according to our plan. Everyday, we are getting in there. Our target is to achieve 206-207kg at the Asian Championships. It’s all about making some technical adjustments and power-strengthening now.”
With all focus on Mirabai, it was the unheralded 21-year-old from Tamil Nadu, N Ajith, who produced the biggest stunner of the tournament, upsetting defending champion and Commonwealth Championship gold medallist Achinta Sheuli with national record performance.
Ajith lifted 140kg in snatch and 170kg in clean and jerk for a total of 310kg, which was 4kg more than the defending champion and local favourite Achinta who achieved his personal best in both snatch (138kg) and clean and jerk (168kg) for a total of 306kg.
Men’s 73kg: N Ajith (TN) (140+170=310); Achinta Sheuli (WB) (138+168=306); Kanhu Sahu (Odisha) (128+162=290).
Women’s 49kg: Mirabai Chanu (RSPB) (88+115=203); Sanjita Chanu (RSPB) (80+105=185); T Priyadarshini (Telangana) (70+98=168).