Chanu elated her ‘sacrifice’ wasn’t in vain

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu had missed her elder sister’s wedding to participate in the tourney that has now given her rare success.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu tallied an impressive 194kg in the women’s 48kg.   -  PTI (File Photo)

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has expressed joy at a ‘sacrifice’ not going in vain owing to her headline-grabbing feat on Thursday. Chanu became the first Indian weightlifter in over two decades, and the second Indian after Karnam Malleswari, to claim a World Championship gold.

Chanu bagged the gold at the marquee event in Anaheim, U.S. “I missed my elder sister’s wedding that took place a few days ago in India. But I am happy that the sacrifice that I made has paid off as I won a gold medal,” she told PTI from Anaheim.

“When I spoke to my mother after winning the medal, she started crying as she knows what all I have been through en-route to this achievement. She was happy that missing my sister’s wedding has not gone in vain,” Chanu said.

Read: President, PM hail Chanu for winning gold in Worlds

During the medal ceremony, Chanu broke into tears while seeing the tricolour from the podium. “I was sure of winning a medal but never thought that I would end up finishing with a gold. So when I saw the flag after wearing the gold medal around my neck, I just could not stop my tears. I got very, very emotional,” the Manipuri said.

“I have been training hard in Patiala, not [having] gone home for a long time. But today it all seems worth [it],” she added.

‘Dream come true’

The 23-year-old from Imphal lifted 85kg in snatch and 109kg in clean and jerk to total an impressive 194kg in the women’s 48kg. It got her a rare honour for India. Her tally of 194kg was also a new national record.

2000 Olympic bronze medallist Malleswari had won the top prize in the World Championships twice - in 1994 and 1995. Kunjarani Devi had also won several medals - mostly silver but never a gold - in the World Championships between 1989 to 1999. “I wanted to emulate Malleswari ma’am. I always had this thought at the back of my mind that India has not won a gold in over two decades and I really wanted to achieve it but actually winning it is like a dream come true,” said Chanu.

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With this achievement, she put behind her forgettable outing at the Rio Olympics last year. Chanu said she had worked extremely hard to minimise her mistakes in the last one year. “At Rio, I gave a very bad performance, especially in clean and jerk category. I assessed my mistakes that I committed at the Olympics and worked very hard to improve on those. This medal has lessened my pain of not doing well in Rio. I am still sad about that but the gold has surely reduced that agony,” she said.

Hard work

Chanu gave credit to her national coach Vijay Sharma for her success. “I owe a lot to my coach Vijay sir for this medal. I trained very, very hard under his guidance. He worked equally hard with me and trained me very well. That showed in the result today. Along with Vijay sir, the Federation also provided me a lot of help.”

Chanu said she would work even harder so she can win medals at next year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games, and then at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “I will work harder and will look to improve upon the gray areas in my game. I will not make the same mistakes again. I will certainly improve and make sure that I win medals at future tournaments. I am looking to do well at next year’s Commonwealth Games and Asiad and then work even harder for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said Chanu.