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2019 World Weightlifting Championships

2019 World Weightlifting Championship Watch: Mirabai Chanu

Should she manage to complete her lifts, Mirabai has a great chance of finishing on the podium.

2019 World Weightlifting Championship Watch: Mirabai Chanu
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By

Sagnik

Updated: 2021-07-16T16:56:48+05:30

25-year-old Mirabai Chanu is, beyond any doubt, India's biggest medal hope at this month's World Weightlifting Championship that will be held at Pattaya, Thailand.

Indian weightlifting has made giant strides in the last few years and consequently, it has developed quite a niche fanbase in the country. Their performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast was superlative, to say the least.

However, at the Worlds, it is an all together different ball game. The Indian contingent boasts of some big names but realistically, only Mirabai stands a chance of finishing on the podium.

Rise to fame

Born in a humble family in Nongpok Kakching village, located 20 kilometres from Imphal, Manipur, Mirabai the youngest of her six siblings. Her father was a lower-level employee at the Public Works Department while her mother ran a small shop in their village.

From a very age, Mirabai would accompany her older brother to collect firewood from nearby hills. However, it wasn't until she was 12 that the family recognized her immense strength.

Chanu

In an interview with PTI, her elder brother revealed, "One day, I could not lift the bundle of firewood but Mira easily lifted it and took it our home, about two kilometres away. She was about 12-years-old then."

Soon, Mirabai would embark on her weightlifting journey inspired by seven-time champion Kunjarani Devi's performance at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Much later, Kunjarani Devi would go on to coaching her at one point in her career.

The Manipur lifter came under the limelight for the first time when she bagged the silver medal at the age of 19 in the 48 kg weightlifting category at the Glasgow edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Since then, she has never had to look back.

Recent performances

Mirabai's first real test was the Rio Olympics 2016, a test she failed miserably. In a field of 12 lifters, she was only one of the two who could not even finish the event.

She failed to complete a lift in three attempts in clean & jerk section, a performance which was followed by harsh criticism. However, the feisty youngster managed to shake off all doubts just 12 months after her disappointing outing in Rio.

This time, in Anaheim, CA, United States, Mirabai pulled all stops as she became only the second Indian to win the gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championship. She lifted a competition record of 194kg in the 48kg category and scripted history.

https://twitter.com/iwfnet/status/936075976445956097

She followed up her performance in the US with another string of superlative showings. Mirabai won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games but a lower back problem would force her out of action for a good 10 months.

The 2019 EGAT Cup held in Thailand marker her comeback where she went on to bag the gold medal. At the Asian Weightlifting Championship held at China, Mirabai missed out on a podium finish by a whisker, settling for the fourth spot with a total life of 199 kg. She did, however, atone for the miss by bagging the gold medal with a lift of 191 kg in Samoa at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship.

Odds of winning a medal

While many expect Mirabai to repeat her feat from 2017, it must be kept in mind that she has just shifted to a new weight category (49kg from earlier 48kg). The category witnesses fierce competition with at least two Chinese lifters lifting more than 200kg consistently.

Most recently, at the Asian Championship, China's Hou Zhihui won the gold lifting 208 kg while North Korea's Ri Song-gum took silver lifting 200 kg.Two Chinese Weightlifters Jiang Huihua and Hou Zhihui has entered weight of 210kg at 2019 World Championships. Mirabai, whose best lift till date is 199kg, has entered weight of 200kg and is placed in group A.

In the women's 49kg category at the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship held at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Thailand's Chayuttra Pramongkhol won the gold medal with a total lift of 209 kg with Hou Zhihui and Jiang Huihua lifting 208 kg and 206 kg respectively to lap up the silver and bronze medals.

It is needless to say that the only way Mirabai can end up on the podium is if she manages to break the 200kg barrier. The lifter herself is, beyond any doubt, India's biggest medal hope at this month's World Weightlifting Championship that will be held at Pattaya, Thailand. Indian weightlifting has made giant strides in the last few years and consequently, it has developed quite a niche fanbase in the country. Their performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast was superlative, to say the least. However, at the Worlds, it is an all together different ball game. The Indian contingent boasts of some big names but realistically, only Mirabai stands a chance of finishing on the podium. Rise to fame Born in a humble family in Nongpok Kakching village, located 20 kilometres from Imphal, Manipur, Mirabai the youngest of her six siblings. Her father was a lower-level employee at the Public Works Department while her mother ran a small shop in their village. From a very age, Mirabai would accompany her older brother to collect firewood from nearby hills. However, it wasn't until she was 12 that the family recognised her immense strength. In an interview with PTI, her elder brother revealed, "One day, I could not lift the bundle of firewood but Mira easily lifted it and took it our home, about two kilometres away. She was about 12-years-old then." Soon, Mirabai would embark on her weightlifting journey inspired by seven-time champion Kunjarani Devi's performance at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Much later, Kunjarani Devi would go on to coaching her at one point in her career. The Manipur lifter came under the limelight for the first time when she bagged the silver medal at the age of 19 in the 48 kg weightlifting category at the Glasgow edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Since then, she has never had to look back. Recent performances Mirabai's first real test was the Rio Olympics 2016, a test she failed miserably. In a field of 12 lifters, she was only one of the two who could not even finish the event. She failed to complete a lift in three attempts in clean & jerk section, a performance which was followed by harsh criticism. However, the feisty youngster managed to shake off all doubts just 12 months after her disappointing outing in Rio. This time, in Anaheim, CA, United States, Mirabai pulled all stops as she became only the second Indian to win the gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championship. She lifted a competition record of 194kg in the 48kg category and scripted history. She followed up her performance in the US with another string of superlative showings. Mirabai won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games but a lower back problem would force her out of action for a good 10 months. The 2019 EGAT Cup held in Thailand marker her comeback where she went on to bag the gold medal. At the Asian Weightlifting Championship held at China, Mirabai missed out on a podium finish by a whisker, settling for the fourth spot with a total life of 199 kg. She did, however, atone for the miss by bagging the gold medal with a lift of 191 kg in Samoa at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship. Odds of winning a medal While many expect Mirabai to repeat her feat from 2017, it must be kept in mind that she has just shifted to a new weight category (49kg from earlier 48kg). The category witnesses fierce competition with at least two Chinese lifters lifting more than 200kg consistently. Most recently, at the Asian Championship, China's Hou Zhihui won the gold lifting 208 kg while North Korea's Ri Song-gum taking the Korea silver lifting 200 kg. Hou Zhihui will start by lifting 210 kg at the World Championship and so will her compatriot Jiang Huihua. Mirabai, whose best lift till date is 199kg, will start off by lifting 200kg. In the women's 49kg category at the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship held at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Thailand's Chayuttra Pramongkhol won the gold medal with a total lift of 209 kg with Hou Zhihui and Jiang Huihua lifting 208 kg and 206 kg respectively to lap up the silver and bronze medals. It is needless to say that the only way Mirabai can end up on the podium is if she manages to break the 200kg barrier. The lifter herself admitted that it will be a difficult task when speaking to The Bridge earlier last month. Should she manage to complete her lifts, Mirabai has a great chance of bagging at least the bronze medal. Whether or not she will finish higher, only time will tell.">admitted that it will be a difficult task when speaking to The Bridge earlier last month.

Should she manage to complete her lifts, Mirabai has a great chance of bagging at least the bronze medal. Whether or not she will finish higher, only time will tell.

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