Mirabai grabs gold at World Weightlifting Championship

Mirabai, a 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, lifted a total of 194kg to better the National record set by her in 192kg in June last year, and end India's 20-year medal drought in the elite event.

Mirabai, a 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, lifted a total of 194kg to better the National record set by her in 192kg in June last year.   -  INTERNATIONAL WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION

Erasing her disappointing performance in the Rio Olympics, S. Mirabai Chanu became the first Indian woman to claim the 48kg gold medal, in the World Weightlifting Championship in Anaheim, US, on Thursday.

Mirabai, a 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, lifted a total of 194kg to better the National record set by her in 192kg in June last year, and end India's 20-year medal drought in the elite event.

Read: Lifters Mirabai, Sanjita book berths for Commonwealth Games

This was the country's first medal in the World Championship after the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

N. Kunjarani Devi (46kg) had won the World Championship silver in 1997 and K. Malleswari (54kg) had bagged the last gold medal in the event in 1995.

Mirabai, who had bagged the Commonwealth Championship title with a total of 189kg in September, hoisted 85kg in snatch (second best) and 109kg in clean and jerk (best) to corner glory.

Read: IWF hopes for six Indians to qualify for Tokyo 2020

Two-time World junior champion Thunya Sukcharoen of Thailand was second with a total of 193kg, while Pan-American champion Ana Segura of Colombia came up third with 182kg.

The 23-year-old Railways lifter, who had made headlines for the wrong reasons after becoming one of the two athletes who failed to lift the weight in three clean and jerk attempts, bounced back in style to set a National record (her own previous record was 108kg in June this year).

Interestingly, she was one of the two athletes to have cleared all three attempts in clean and jerk.

“My failure in the Olympics hurt me. I did not go home (in Manipur) and focused on my clean and jerk at the National camp in Patiala. My mother always supported me and gave me strength,” Mirabai told Sportstar from the US.

“I never thought I would win a gold, but was determined to go back with a medal. I will go step by step with the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games next year and the Olympics in 2020. Now, I am hopeful of winning a medal in the Olympics,” said Mirabai, who started weightlifting after watching Kunjarani.

National coach Vijay Sharma said the Olympics failure spurred Mirabai. “After a washout of clean and jerk in the Olympics and the criticism in the media, she did not take a day off. We rectified the technical and mental issues related to her performance and Mira's weakling became her strength here,” said Vijay.

Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) president Birendra Prasad Baishya said Mirabai's showing would motivate other lifters. “Great news for Indian weightlifting. This will inspire others. I am sure now Mirabai can win a medal for the country in the 2020 Olympics,” said Baishya.