Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


Mirabai Chanu sets target of lifting over 200kg

Mirabai Chanu will have to manage anything above 200 kg to entertain any hopes of a medal at the Weightlifting World Championship.

Mirabai Chanu sets target of lifting over 200kg

Suhrid Barua

Updated: 20 July 2021 9:26 AM GMT
She is an epitome of confidence – the manner in which she goes about her weightlifting drills at NIS, Patiala gives out a feeling that she is on a mission to conquer the world. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is undoubtedly India's 'biggest medal hope' at the upcoming World Weightlifting Championship that will be held at Pattaya, Thailand from September 18-27. The 25-year-old Manipuri girl is giving finishing touches to her preparations for the upcoming World Weightlifting Championship amid expectations of pulling off a podium finish like she did in bagging the gold medal in the 48-kg category at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championship in the USA.

Challenge of shifting weight category

But things will be far from being a piece of cake for Mirabai, as she has not just shifted to a new weight category (49-kg from earlier 48-kg) but is also anticipating fierce competition as her fellow weightlifters have indeed raised the bar. Mirabai Chanu won the gold medal 2017 World CHampionship Mirabai Chanu won the gold medal 2017 World Championship Mirabai had won the gold medal at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championship with a total lift of 194 kg, but it is important to understand that competition has cranked up in her new 49-kg category at the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship held at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, where Thailand's Chayuttra Pramongkhol won the gold medal with a total lift of 209 kg with the Chinese duo of Hou Zhihui and Jiang Huihua lifting 208 kg and 206 kg respectively to lap up the silver and bronze medals.

Target 200+

It does not need any rocket science to understand that the Indian ace weightlifter will have to manage anything above 200 kg to entertain any hopes of a medal.
"Hou lifted 209 kg at the last world championship, and I know anything above 200 kg is a must to aspire for a medal. I have been lifting 203 kg in training sessions, and I see no reason why I cannot up the ante in the run-up to the World Weightlifting Championship. Hou, Jiang and North Korea's Ri Song-Gum are strong opponents, but I'm on par with them," says the soft-spoken but confidence weightlifter, who is employed with Indian Railways (posted at NF Railway, Maligaon).
The country's best weightlifting medal bet had a forgettable last year or so after having forced out of competitive action for close to ten months owing to a lower back problem – something even doctors failed to diagnose after conducting numerous tests, etc. This was the toughest phase of Mirabai's career. "I spent a lot of my rehab time in Mumbai – even today I do not know why I sustained that back injury – was it because of exercise or technique we still don't know. I'm relieved to get over that phase and back to what I'm love doing most – weightlifting," she recalls her tough phase. https://twitter.com/mirabai_chanu/status/1148825540423327745?s=20 The 2019 EGAT Cup held in Thailand was her international comeback after she had last featured in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, where she had won the 48-kg category gold with a total lift of 196 kg. The Asian Weightlifting Championship held at China saw Mirabai miss the medal cut by a whisker, settling for the fourth spot with a total life of 199 kg - an event where China's Hou Zhihui won the gold lifting 208 kg and North Korea's Ri Song-gum taking the Korea silver lifting 200 kg. Mirabai atoned for that medal miss by bagging the gold medal with a lift of 191 kg at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship held at Samoa. So three tournaments successfully competed and the youngster feels assured about reaching peak form ahead of the World Weightlifting Championship.
"I'm happy to be running into good form ahead of the marquee event – and keeping my fingers crossed,"
she says.

The other side of Mirabai

The softer side of Mirabai presents itself when the conversation revolves around how she feels being away from her home state – Manipur - doing national duty (taking part in competitions for the country or attending national camps). "I miss my parents a lot. Owing to my busy training and competition schedule I cannot regularly visit Manipur but I make it a point to call up my father and mother daily twice – once in the morning and in the evening," says the current national champion who still ekes out time to rustle up famous Manipuri cuisine
. "I'm very fond of Eromba which is a delightful combination of boiled vegetables and fish – I prepare Eromba whenever I get time," gushes the youngster, who is a big Neha Kakkar fan. "I unwind by listening to songs of Neha Kakkar – she is my favourite singer," she quips. Mirabai Chanu with her mother Mirabai Chanu with her mother Mirabai is youngest among three elder sisters and three elder brothers – all happily married off. Is marriage on her cards, or is she seeing someone?
"Weightlifting is my main focus area, and I can't think of marriage at the moment as that can wait. I don't have a boyfriend and will go by what my parents decide for me in future," she says coyly.
As is well documented, much of her success can be credited to chief coach Vijay Kumar who works tirelessly behind the scenes to get the right results for her. "Vijay sir is fantastic – no words will be enough to describe what he was done for me – he is a father figure to me and takes care of every little detail pertaining to training, diet etc," she signs off lavishing praise on her mentor.
Next Story