Women who inspire us: Saikhom Mirabai Chanu

After finishing fourth in the World Championships, Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu ended 2019 on a high by winning a gold at the Qatar International Cup.

Mirabai Chanu is ranked fourth in the world in 48 kg category behind the Chinese duo of Huihua Jiang and Zhihui Hou, and Korea’s Ri Song Gum.   -  C.V.Subrahmanyam

Already regarded as the front-runner to lead India to its first Olympic gold medal in weightlifting, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has been ever-present on the international stage since winning the silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow.

The Manipuri lifter followed up the Games triumph by becoming the country’s first weightlifting World Championships gold medal winner since 1995 by defeating Thai favourite Thunya Sukcharoen in the women’s 48kg category in 2017. Chanu lifted a total of 196 kg, 86 kg in Snatch and 110 kg in Clean and Jerk.

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While the expectations were high ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, she suffered a setback as a back spasm kept her out of the Games in Indonesia. The lower back injury had kept Chanu out of action for over half of 2018. However, the Indian weightlifter made a strong return by striking gold at the EGAT Cup in Thailand in February last year.

 

As she finished fourth in the 2019 World Championships, she ended the year on a high by winning the gold medal at the 6th Qatar International Cup in December. In February, Chanu lifted a total of 203kg to win the 49kg gold at the Senior National Weightlifting Championships in Kolkata. She improved her own national record as she won the title.

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Even though Chanu qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics in the women's 48 kg category, she did not finish the event as she was unable to lift the weight in any of her three attempts in the clean & jerk category.

The Manipuri, who is ranked fourth in the world behind the Chinese duo of Huihua Jiang (212kg) and Zhihui Hou (211kg), and Korea’s Ri Song Gum (209kg), is gearing up for the Asian Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, from 16 to 25 April, the final Olympic qualification.