National Weightlifting Championships: Mirabai Chanu fights back to win gold

Overwhelming favourite Mirabai Chanu, a World champion in 2017, lifted a total of 194kg to clinch the gold medal.

Mirabai Chanu poses with her gold medal after winning in the 49kg category.   -  C.V.Subrahmanyam

Star lifter S. Mirabai Chanu saved herself from huge embarrassment as she fought back after two failed attempts in snatch to take the women's 49kg crown in style on the opening day of the National weightlifting championships at the Railway Indoor Sports Enclave on Friday.

Overwhelming favourite Mirabai, a World champion in 2017, lifted a total of 194kg to beat her closest competitor Deepika by 14kg. S. Bindyarani Devi lifted 172kg to take the bronze medal.

Going for 83kg in snatch, Mirabai shocked everyone when she lost balance before getting up and landed on her hips in her very first attempt. She was dismayed when the barbell fell backwards on her second try.

Mirabai Chanu reacts after the barbell fell backwards in her second attempt.   -  C.V.Subrahmanyam


However, the champion lifter overcame her nervousness by tasting success on her third and final effort.

In clean and jerk, the 24-year-old, representing host Railways, achieved her initial target of 107kg and then followed it up with 111kg. She left the stage with a big smile even though she could not do 114kg, which she tried for the first time ever in a competition.

“Normally, I do 83kg easily. I don't know what went wrong. Maybe I made a mistake, or I took it too lightly,” said Mirabai.

As competitions were held as per the new weight categories, C.H. Rishikanta Singh and Riya Sen emerged as the champions in men's 55kg and women's 45kg categories respectively.

Rishikanta was able to keep Shubham Todkar at bay because of his better performance in snatch.

Riya benefitted as Jhili Dalabehera, a World junior bronze medallist and one of the strongest lifters in 45kg, returned 'no lift' for 70kg in all her three snatch efforts.

The results:

Men: 55kg: 1. C.H. Rishikanta Singh (Mani) snatch 105kg, clean and jerk 134kg, total 239kg; 2. Shubham Todkar (Mah) 103kg, 134kg, 237kg; 3. Hirendra Sarang (Chg) 100kg, 136kg, 236kg.

Women: 45kg: 1. Riya Sen (Del) 67kg, 87kg, 154; 2. Dipali Gursale (Mah) 70kg, 83kg, 153kg, 3. Thushmita M.V. (Kar) 62kg, 88kg, 150kg.

49kg: 1. S. Mirabai Chanu (RSPB) 83kg, 111kg, 194kg; 2. Deepika (Har) 78kg, 102kg, 180kg; 3. S. Bindyarani Devi (Mani) 72kg, 100kg, 172kg.

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