Olympic silver medallist Mirabai Chanu defied a wrist issue and the distraction of attending the opening ceremony on the eve of her competition to land her maiden gold medal in the women’s 49kg category at the weightlifting arena on Mahatma Mandir campus in the National Games on Friday.
Mirabai and her Manipur rival Sanjita Chanu pushed each other tactically before the former prevailed with a snatch effort of 84kg and a clean and jerk mark of 107kg on her second attempts to record a total of 191kg. She beat Sanjita, who put up a spirited performance to aggregate 187kg, by four kg.
It was a reversal of places on the podium for the two as Sanjita had won the gold in 48kg category while Mirabai had taken the silver seven years ago.
Despite the odds, Mirabai enjoyed her new accomplishments. “It was a proud moment to be the flag-bearer of Manipur. It is a nice feeling to win my first gold here. I recently injured my left wrist during training after which I made sure not to risk it before the World Championships in December,” said Mirabai.
“It normally gets hectic to attend opening ceremonies as my event starts early on the next day, but I felt I must challenge myself this time.”
Even though she is aiming for her first podium finish at the Asian Games next year, Mirabai is focused on the World championships (which would be an Olympic qualifying event).
“An Asian Games medal is missing from my cabinet. It will be my first Asian Games after missing out on the 2018 edition with a back injury. For me, the main focus now is the World championships, where I will get to compete against the same weightlifters whom I will meet in the Asiad,” said the 28-year-old.
61kg: 1. Charu Pesi (Aru) snatch 114kg, clean and jerk 145kg, total 259kg; 2. Muna Nayak (SSCB) 108kg, 147kg, 255kg; 3. Zakhuma (Miz) 113kg, 141kg, 254kg.
49kg: 1. Mirabai Chanu (Man) 84kg, 107kg, 191kg; 2. Sanjita Chanu (Man) 82kg, 105kg, 187kg; 3. Sneha Soren (Odi) 73kg, 96kg, 169kg; 55kg: 1. Ranibala Devi (Man) 84kg, 104kg, 188kg; 2. Veerjeet Kaur (Chd) 82kg, 98kg, 180kg; 3. Pramila Krisani (Odi) 70kg, 97kg, 167kg.