India’s champion in weightlifting is eager to change the colour of the medal in Paris

Mirabai Chanu, who was satisfied with the silver medal in Tokyo Olympics 2020, is desperate to win the gold medal this time in the Olympics to be held in Paris. Mirabai Chanu, a world champion and winner of two gold and one silver medal in Commonwealth Games, is included in the list of India’s best weightlifters. Mirabai’s silver medal in Tokyo 2020 was the second Olympic medal won by an Indian weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari. She also became the second Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal after PV Sindhu. She stunned her opponents with her performance in her first Olympics in Rio 2016, where she entered after breaking the 12-year-old national record.

Chanu Mirabai was born on 8 August 1994 near Imphal. Her family supported her dream of becoming a weightlifter since the age of 12. The family recognized her strength when she was able to lift wooden logs that her brother had difficulty lifting and return home easily. She was known as a heavyweight lifter in the family. Always interested in sports, Mirabai Chanu wanted to learn archery at a local sports hall in Imphal early in her career before choosing weightlifting. After properly identifying her sport, Mirabai Chanu took inspiration from India’s female weightlifter Kunjarani Devi and decided to follow her path.

Mirabai Chanu made her international mark at the age of 20 by winning a silver medal in the 48kg weight category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland. After this, at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, USA, Mirabai Chanu won the gold medal after two decades and became the first Indian weightlifter to do so. This was her first attempt in the 48kg category after 1994 and 1995, following the title win of Sydney 2000 bronze medalist Karnam Malleswari. After this, she also won the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Along with this, in this event, she also recorded records in ‘snatch’, clean and jerk’ as well as ‘total’. But a lower back injury put an end to her brilliant season. Due to this, Chanu could not participate in the 2018 Asian Games and World Championships. And then it took her about a year to recover from the injury.

Chanu then returned to compete at the World Championships in Thailand in 2019, where she finished fourth. But her performance at the event in Pattaya was nonetheless memorable as she managed to lift 200kg for the first time in her career. At the 2021 Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent in April, Mirabai Chanu set a new world record in clean and jerk by lifting 119kg. This achievement set her up perfectly for the Tokyo Olympics, where she lifted 202kg (87kg snatch + 115kg clean and jerk) to win the silver medal.

A year later, Mirabai Chanu entered the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham as everyone’s favourite athlete. Here she won the gold medal by lifting a total of 201 kg (snatch – 88 kg; clean and jerk – 113 kg). With this effort, Mirabai Chanu broke the previous Commonwealth Games record of 191 kg in the category set by her at Gold Coast 2018. At the World Championships this year, Mirabai Chanu was suffering from a wrist injury and won the silver medal with a total of 200 kg (87 kg snatch + 113 kg (clean and jerk). However, Mirabai Chanu was not fully fit, she participated in the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, but finished fourth with a combined weight of 191 kg.

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