Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu bags silver, India’s first medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020
Mirabai Chanu was inducted into the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in 2017
Ace Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu bagged a Silver medal in the women’s 49kg weightlifting event on Saturday and became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
This is the first time India has won a medal on the opening day of the Olympic Games. This was also India's first weightlifting medal at the Olympic Games in more than 20 years, since Karnam Malleshwari in Sydney.
At the competition, Chanu started by lifting 84kg in her first attempt during the snatch event. Chanu's competitor Jourdan Delacruz from the USA lifted 83kg in her first attempt, however, the Indian lifter upped her ante to lift 87kg in her second attempt, while Delacruz in her second attempt lifted 86kg.
World Champion Hoi Zhuihui of China topped the standings at the halfway mark after lifting 92kg after two attempts. Both Chanu and Delacruz failed to lift 89 kg in their third attempt allowing Zhuihui to stay top of the table.
The Chinese weightlifter made a new Olympic record in the snatch by lifting 94kg in her third and final lift. She finished at 210 kg after lifting 116 kg in clean and jerk.
Chanu lifted 115 kg in the clean and jerk and finished the event with a total lift of 202 kg to bag the silver medal.
Chanu dedicated the medal to the country.
She took to Twitter and said, “It’s really a dream come true for me. I would like to dedicate the medal to my country and would like to thank the billion prayers of all Indians which were with me during the journey. I like to thank my mother for a lots of sacrifices and believing in me. Also special thanks to our government for supporting me, Ministry of Sports, SAI, IOA, Weightlifting federation of India, Railways, OGQ, sponsors, and my marketing agency IOS for their continuous support in this journey. I would like to give thanks to my coach Vijay Sharma sir and support staff for their continuous hard work, motivation, and training. Thank you once again my weightlifting fraternity and all my countrymen. JAI HIND.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and people of India from all corners of the country congratulated Chanu for her achievement.
Taking to Twitter, PM Modi said, “Could not have asked for a happier start to @Tokyo2020! India is elated by @mirabai_chanu’s stupendous performance. Congratulations to her for winning the Silver medal in weightlifting. Her success motivates every Indian. #Cheer4India #Tokyo2020”
Congratulating Chanu, Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said, “A big thank you and thank you on behalf of PM Modi and the entire country for bringing a big smile on the faces of 135 crore Indians. First day, first medal; you made the country proud."
Chanu started her training at SAI Centre in Imphal near her hometown. For the last five years, the genial weightlifter would have been home in Manipur for a total of five weeks.
She remained in her training base at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala taking time off only to travel to Mumbai for rehabilitation of her lower back injury in 2018. She was inducted into the Target Olympic Podium Scheme in 2017.
She travelled to St. Louis, United States of America, with support through the TOP Scheme, where renowned physical therapist, strength and conditioning coach Aaron Horchig assisted her in improving her technique to prevent the pain that she occasionally felt in her shoulders and back.
It helped her establish a Clean & Jerk world record in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent in April 2021.
The decision to send Mira to St. Louis was taken within a few hours after it became apparent that the US would close down for Indian travellers.
She boarded a flight on May 1, a day before the United States of America ruled not to let Indians fly to its country because of the growing Covid-19 incidents in India. There is no doubt that this stint helped Chanu immensely.