Mirabai Chanu returns to training post back injury

Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Mirabai Chanu has resumed training post a lower-back injury and has her eyes set on the 2019 Asian Weightlifting Championship.

Mirabai Chanu has been out of action since winning gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.   -  Special Arrangement

It was the same hall where Karnam Malleswari had trained to
become World Champion and Olympic medallist in weightlifting.

In the breathtaking set up of the National Institute of Sports, tucked away in one corner, the weightlifting centre, had also helped
Kunjarani Devi win World Championship medals. Malleswari and Kunjarani further went on to win the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, over 20 years ago.

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The third weightlifter to be awarded the Khel Ratna, World Champion Mirabai Chanu has resumed training to prepare for the Asian Championship, which is an Olympic qualifying event.

Mirabai Chanu was chosen for the Khel Ratna following her gold medal in 48kg category at the World Weightlifting Championships last year and a gold medal at this year's Commonwealth Games.   -  Sandeep Saxena


A spell out due to injury has not dented the 24-year-old's confidence. "We will definitely win the Olympic medal and bring it to India," she said.

As the reigning World Champion, Mirabai had lifted a combined total of 196 kg to clinch the gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, but a lower back strain prevented her from competing in the Asian Games held in Indonesia.

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One of the two lifters in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) -- the other being 96kg category lifter Ragala Venkat Rahul -- Mirabai is clear of the path ahead, as she trains under the guidance of coach Vijay Sharma.

Meanwhile, Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy Lalrinnunga, who lifted a total of 274 kg in the 62 kg section in Buenos Aires, has been included in the TOPS, along with Achinta Sheuli and Jhili Dalabehera, keeping in mind the 2024 Olympics.

Mirabai is quite at home in the SAI Centre in Patiala, pleased with
the quality of food and facilities. She is happy with all that she has achieved so far, including the recognition. She received the Khel Ratna from the President along with cricket captain Virat Kohli.

"I will feel like a star only when I win an Olympic medal," Mirabai said.

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The pain of the "no lift" at the Rio Olympics still hurts. After having lifted 82 kg in snatch, she failed to register a mark in the clean and jerk, failing all three attempts at 106 kg.

Mirabai Chanu in action during the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast.   -  AP

The gold in Rio was won with a total of 200 kg by the Thailand's Sopita Tanasan, while the silver and bronze were bagged with 192 kg and 188 kg respectively by Sri Wahyuni Agustiani of Indonesia and Hiromi Miyake of Japan. It was an Asian sweep, and well within Mirabai's reach.

No wonder Mirabai and the rest have already assembled to train for the Asian Championship in China in April 2019, with eyes on bigger glory in Tokyo.