The Other Sports column of The Hindu on 30th November, 2017 made headlines with ‘Chanu ends a two-decade wait’. Yes, this year, India goes down in the history of sports with yet another hallmark episode and win. Saikhom Mirabhai Chanu became the first Indian in over two decades to claim a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championship, exorcising the ghosts of her forgettable outing at the Rio Olympics.
Chanu became the first Indian on over two decades’ time to win a Gold Medal at the championship. It was Karnam Malleshwari who had won the Gold Medal back in 1995. Also, Chanu became the second Indian to achieve this grand feat
For #MirabaiChanu, the weightlifter from Manipur, it was always a case of too close yet too far. The gold medal at a world level competition kept eluding her, until today.Watch:
Posted by The Bridge on 30 नोव्हेंबर 2017
Chanu, participating in the women’s 48kg event at the Championships held in Anaheim, USA, began with a total of 85 kg and then followed up with 109 kg to deliver India its second gold medal since Malleswari did the country proud in 1994 and 1995.Thailand’s Sukcharoen Thunya took the silver medal with a total lift of 193, while Segura Ana Iris of Colombia bagged bronze with 182kg.
Chanu’s outing in Anaheim was very different from the way things panned out in Rio last year when she put up a disappointing performance as she could not get an overall total in women’s 48kg after failing to lift the weight in any of her three attempts in clean & jerk section. In a field of 12 lifters at the Rio Games, she was one of two lifters who did not finish (DNF) her event.
With a personal best of 192 kg, Mirabhai Chanu, an employee of the Indian Railways, entered into the competition as a strong medal contender and her quest for a gold medal was made easier by the absence of Rio Olympics 48 kg gold medallist, Sopita Tanasan of Thailand, who shifted to 53 kg in this championship and China could not field any lifter due to a one-year ban for doping.
Chanu had finished ninth in the 2015 World Championships while she ended 11th in the 2014 edition. In September, Chanu had booked a berth for next year’s Commonwealth Games after winning gold at the Commonwealth Senior Weightlifting Championships held in Australia. She had broken Commonwealth record in snatch event with a lift of 85kg, bettering her own record by a kilogramme.
The President’s Office said in a tweet, ‘Congratulations Mirabai Chanu for winning a gold medal in the World Weightlifting Championship. India is so proud of you. And congratulations Manipur for giving the country such a wonderful series of champion sportswomen!’
Seeing the tricolour from the podium, tears of joy rolled down her cheeks, as Chanu picked up a rare honour for an Indian at the marquee event.