Lockdown diaries: It’s the same for everyone, says Mirabai Chanu

“Sometimes it is boring to stay restricted, but no one can help it. After all, such measures are going to help us fight the coronavirus,” said Mirabai Chanu.

Mirabai Chanu improved her own records in the snatch, clean-and-jerk and total (203kg) at the National Championships in Kolkata in February.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Former world champion Mirabai Chanu, who is adhering to self-isolation owing to the global coronavirus outbreak, is not keen on facing the possibility of another situation like this.

But the Manipuri weightlifter is sure of qualifying for her second Olympics.

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According to the original IWF qualification criteria, an athlete has to compete in at least one ranking event — such as gold level (world and continental championships), silver level (IWF events, including multi-discipline games and championships) and bronze level (other international competitions) — in each of the three periods starting from November 1, 2018 to April 30, 2020; six overall; and at least one gold level and one other gold- or silver-level event.

Points will be awarded for these performances and the best results in each of the three periods will be considered to ascertain the rankings.

Mirabai has accumulated 3,869.8038 qualifying points from five outings to be placed fourth in the women’s 49kg category. The top eight lifters in each weight category will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, which is now scheduled to be held in 2021 because of the global coronavirus pandemic that has brought sports to a standstill worldwide.

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Notwithstanding the distractions provided by the pandemic, Mirabai is focused on her training keeping the Olympics in mind. After the Asian Championships, an Olympic qualifying event, in Tashkent was postponed, she had changed her routine.

Wrestlers includin Jeremy Lalrinnunga are yet to secure quota places for the Tokyo Olympics, which is now scheduled to be held in 2021.   -  Getty Images

 

“The training now is different as there is no competition right now. We would have trained differently had the competitions were on schedule,” said national coach Vijay Sharma.

Mirabai, who uses her cycle to commute between her room and training centre of the National Institute of Sports campus in Patiala, gave an idea about her present training schedule. “I am working on fitness and endurance. The training is low on intensity. As there is no competition in sight, there is less stress on lifting,” she said.

Mirabai’s determination has doubled in the last four years following her disappointing showing at the Rio Olympics. The Indian registered three ‘no lifts’ in the clean-and-jerk to return without a rank from the Games.

However, she improved her game to take the women’s 48kg title at the World Championships in Anaheim in the USA a year later. She secured the Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2018 before facing another setback.

A mysterious lower-back issue forced her to pull out of the Asian Games that year, but the gritty lifter fought back to assert her class with a fourth-place finish by lifting 199kg at the 2019 Asian Championships in Ningbo City, China.

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Mirabai showed steady improvement as she aggregated 201kg to claim fourth position at the 2019 World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. Only four women could breach the 200kg mark in that event.

Mirabai’s determination has doubled in the last four years following her disappointing showing at the Rio Olympics. The Indian registered three ‘no lifts’ in the clean-and-jerk to return without a rank from the Games.   -  Reuters

 

The 25-year-old went one step better by improving her own records in the snatch, clean-and-jerk and total (203kg) at the National Championships in Kolkata in February this year.

Her brilliant comeback has put her Olympic dream back on track.

“My preparation has been going on nicely. An athlete keeps on getting roadblocks throughout her career, but one must overcome these to achieve one’s goal. One should stay focused and do one’s job.

“This (coronavirus pandemic) is an extraordinary situation which has affected the whole world. There is nothing much one can do about it,” said Mirabai.

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The Manipuri does not mind following some restrictions in order to stay safe. “It is important to stay isolated in order to stay safe in such a situation. The campus is locked down for the visitors and we are taking some precautions and not going out to avoid any threat.

“We are not even going out to malls and markets on weekends. Sometimes it is boring to stay restricted, but no one can help it. After all, such measures are going to help us fight the coronavirus,” said Mirabai.

“The whole world is affected. It’s the same for everyone (lifter),” said Mirabai.