Olympic silver medallist Mirabai Chanu defied a wrist issue to secure a silver medal in the women’s 49kg category at the World weightlifting championships in Bogota on Wednesday.
Mirabai lifted 87kg in snatch and 113kg in clean and jerk to total 200kg and win her second medal in the World championships. She had taken the gold in 48kg with an aggregate of 194kg in Anaheim in 2017. She had finished fourth in 49kg with 201kg in Pattaya in 2019.
In a highly competitive field, Mirabai – who holds the snatch National record of 88kg – began with 84kg but failed to lift 87kg on her second attempt. She managed to hoist 87kg with some difficulty in her third effort and placed fifth behind Chinese Jiang Huihua (93kg), Romanian Mihaela Cambei (90kg), another Chinese Hou Zhihui (89kg) and Belgian Nina Sterckx (89kg).
In clean and jerk, Mirabai – the world record holder in clean and jerk with a mark of 119kg – could not lift 111kg in her opening effort before tasting success in the second and getting into the medal contention. In her final attempt, the Indian matched Huihua’s second effort of 113kg to ensure her second international medal of the year after her Commonwealth Games gold (201kg).
“It is a very good result. Despite the problems (relating to Mirabai’s wrist), we are on the right track. She could not lift 87kg in her second attempt as her left hand pressed out due to the injury. Same thing happened in the opening clean and jerk attempt. As 113kg would have given her the silver, we did not try a higher weight,” chief national coach Vijay Sharma said.
Mirabai was delighted to secure the silver medal. “It’s an emotionally proud moment to bring another World championship medal back home after five long years. The competition is always intense at the highest level. I had a wrist pain but I am always ready to push myself to cross the line for my country,” said Mirabai.
Huihua, who could not achieve 120kg in her final attempt, won her third world title (93kg, 113kg, 206kg). Her compatriot and current Olympic champion Zhihui, who skipped her third effort after doing 109kg in clean and jerk, took the bronze medal (89kg, 109kg, 198kg).
HOW CAN MIRABAI SECURE PARIS 2024 QUALIFICATION?
According to the Paris Olympics qualifying system, a lifter needs to compete in two compulsory events – 2023 World Championships and 2024 World Cup.
Besides, an athlete needs to participate in three other events from the following: 2022 World Championships, 2023 Continental Championships (or continental Games if it is replacing the continental championships), 2023 Grand Prix I and II and 2024 Continental Championships.
This edition of the World Championships is the first qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics. However, it is an additional event and not a compulsory one.
The highest total achieved by an athlete in the above-mentioned events shall be counted towards his/her overall Olympic Qualification Ranking.
A country can field only three lifters, with a maximum of one per weight category, in each gender and each weight category will feature 12 athletes.
Altogether 10 weight categories, five each for men and women, will feature in the Paris Games.
(With inputs from Y.B. Sarangi)