Mirabai to skip World Championships

A lower back injury had forced Mirabai Chanu to miss the 18th Asian Games.

Mirabai Chanu at the medal presentation ceremony after winning gold in the women's 48kg weightlifting event at the Commonwealth Games.   -  PTI

World champion weightlifter S. Mirabai Chanu, who was nominated for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award on Monday, said she would skip the World Championships in November in order to fully recover from her lower back injury.

Mirabai, who claimed the women’s 48kg World title in Anaheim, USA, in December and the Commonwealth Games crown in Gold Coast, Australia, in April, had to forego the Asian Games due to the injury.

The good news is Mirabai’s treatment in Mumbai has started showing positive results. “The injury had happened due to excessive load. The pain has reduced and I am going through the recovery. I am also doing (light) weight training,” Mirabai told Sportstar.

Meanwhile, the 24-year-old has decided not to compete in the World championships, the first Olympic qualifying event for the 2020 Games, to be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from November 1 to 10, and focus on her recovery process.

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National coach Vijay Sharma, who was nominated for Dronacharya Award, welcomed Mirabai’s decision. “The main target is to do well in the Olympics. The requirement is to compete in six events (to gather ranking points). Even if she skips this year’s World championships, she will get adequate number of events to qualify for the Olympics.

“No point taking risk. The first target is to recover completely and return to action in the Asian championships in April (which will be held in India),” said Sharma.

Mirabai said she had gotten over the disappointment of skipping the Asiad. “I was sad. Maybe better things are there for me in future.

“Right now I am so happy to have got the Khel Ratna news. My family and coach are responsible for this. My mother was doing puja for the last two days; now she is relieved.

“This will encourage me to put in more hard work and bring laurels for the country,” said Mirabai, who would be the third weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari (1994-95) and N. Kunjarani Devi (1995-96) to receive the honour.