Record-breaking Mirabai Chanu claims India’s first gold of 21st CWG

Mirabai Chanu says she didn't expect to break records but wanted to break them once she reached Gold Coast.

Mirabai Chanu shows her gold medal won in the women's 48kg Weightlifting final.   -  AP

It made an excellent picture as Mirabai Chanu Saikhom stood on the top of podium, all smiles and holding aloft the glittering gold medal on the opening day of the weightlifting competitions of the XXI Commonwealth Games at the Carrara sports arena on Thursday.

READ: Mirabai’s coach glad to be ‘on the right track’

It was nothing but expected as the 23-year-old from Manipur as the reigning champion in women’s 48kg was the firm favourite and it would

have made the headlines only if she had failed to live up to that tag. But what gave the Imphal-born greater satisfaction this afternoon, more than converting her silver medal from Glasgow 2014 to the gold medal, was her success in improving upon herpersonal bests in snatch, clean and jerk and in the total thereby constituting a new Commonwealth and Commonwealth Games records in all the three sequences.

Mirabai was left to fight it out all by herself, as by the time she came on stage, the rest of the 10 competitors had already finished with their lifts and was in a hurry with their preparations for the second stage. Canadian Amanda Braddock, who ultimately failed to finish in the medal bracket, was in the lead at that moment, having lifted the best of 76kg through three attempts. The Indian’s opening attempt by itself was set at 80kg and as Mirabai came out this test effortlessly, she was straight away into the lead.

The Indian thereafter asked for 84kg which again was raised to 86kg in the third. This clearly marked an improvement of her previous best of

85kg, achieved at the last year’s World championships in Anaheim, United States. Having cleared the third attempt with a bit of an effort, the Indian thus enjoyed a good 10kg lead over the rest as she was left waiting for her chance in clean and jerk.

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Here again, she had little difficulty as she started off with 103kg, progressed to 107kg and rounded off her campaign with 110kg, for an impressive winning total of 196kg. With Braddock failing in clean and jerk with no lifts in all her three attempts, Mauritian Marie Hanitra Roilya and Sri Lankan Dinasha Gomes followed the Indian but very far behind with totals of 170kg and 155kg.

Mirabai, for sure, was elated: “I am very happy with my performance and thankful to the crowd for its support. My aim now is improve upon this performance at the Asian Games and prepare myself to land a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Yes, it gives me pleasure that I have won for India its first gold medal as well in these Games. The Chinese and the Thais are strong but I think that I will able to overcome them in the coming meets,” she said.

Our Imphal correspondent, Iboyaima Laithangbam, adds:

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and sports Minister Letpao Haokip have congratulated Saikhom Chanu Mirabai for her performances in the Commonwealth Games. Biren said, "Mirabai is a true Manipuri girl". Haokip said that all of us are proud of her. Social welfare Minister MS Nemcha Kipgen also congratulated Mirabai.

Opposition leader and former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said that Mirabai had brought laurels once again. He said that his government had also patronised the sportspersons. Boxer Mary Kom was also promoted to the post of the police superintendent.

He also said that during his tenure, land had been allotted for the construction of the sports university in Manipur. Womenfolk in her home district , Thoubal, celebrated Mirabai's spectacular performances with dances. They said that they want a high post in the police department for her so that she could stay in the state. She is currently employed in the railways.

When Mirabai was selected for Padmashree award from the field of sports, the Manipur government gave her Rs 20 lakh as incentives.