Mirabai Chanu thanks Sports Authority of India for support

During Mirabai Chanu’s journey to the Olympic silver medal, she had to go through a dramatic phase in the last leg of her preparations that played a crucial role in her success in the Tokyo Games.

Mirabai Chanu opened India's medal count by winning silver in the 49kg women's weightlifting.   -  GETTY IMAGES

During Mirabai Chanu’s journey to the Olympic silver medal, she had to go through a dramatic phase in the last leg of her preparations that played a crucial role in her success in the Tokyo Games.

Even after Mirabai claimed a bronze medal with her personal best of 205kg, including a world record of 119kg in clean and jerk, in the Asian weightlifting championships in Tashkent in April, the lifter and her coach Vijay Sharma had a bit of concern regarding her two ‘no lifts’ in snatch.

It made Sharma draw up a plan quickly to sort out Mirabai’s right shoulder issue and ensure some unhindered training amid the worsening second wave of Covid-19.

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Accordingly, the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) wrote to the TOPS CEO Commander (retd.) Rajesh Rajagopalan on April 30 to allow Mirabai to travel to the USA for a 50-day training camp in St. Louis and work with physical expert Dr. Aaron Horschig ahead of the Olympic Games.

The primary purpose of the camp – including Mirabai, national coach Vijay Sharma, assistant coach Sandeep Kumar and physiotherapist Anukool Bharadwaj (at no cost to the Government) – was to provide her with a base for rehabilitation and training. With the pandemic peaking, it was proposed that she would directly travel from the USA to Tokyo.

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On an earlier occasion, Mirabai had worked with Dr. Horschig to get rid of her back problem.

Considering the impending international travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) officials worked really fast to clear the proposal on the same day.

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This enabled Mirabai to board a USA-bound flight on the next day, May 1, and begin her final phase of preparations for the Olympics without wasting any time.

“I would like to especially thank the Sports Authority of India and TOPS for extending every possible support for my continuous training in the country and abroad. This medal is only possible because of teamwork. Thank you once again @Media_SAI and TOPS,” Mirabai tweeted on Sunday, acknowledging the support she received from the two organisations during her Olympic preparations.

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