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Why Mirabai Chanu withdrew with a 6th-place finish

Asian Weightlifting Championships: Mirabai Chanu looked set to go for a medal but then gave up two of her Clean and Jerk lifts to finish with her lowest total in 6 years.

Why Mirabai Chanu withdrew with a 6th-place finish

Mirabai Chanu bows out without attempting her 2 final Clean and Jerk lifts. (Screenshot)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 5 May 2023 12:49 PM GMT

Mirabai Chanu made a surprising exit from the Asian Weightlifting Championships with a 6th-place finish in Jinju, Korea on Friday.

She finished with a total of 194 kg after withdrawing from her last two Clean and Jerk lifts, registering her lowest total at an event in six years. It looked like Mirabai would look to get into the medal places with her second C&J lift, usually her stronger suit. Even her name was announced for a 115-kg lift, which would have catapulted her into 3rd spot. But she did not come out.

India's weightlifting head coach Vijay Sharma had said before the event that the aim for Mirabai in Korea would be just to participate.

"Mira only has to participate here. We will take it easy. She will just participate and lift 85kg (snatch) and 110kg (clean and jerk), totals that she can easily get," Sharma had said.

On Friday, the Tokyo Olympics silver medallist, competing in the 49kg category, managed to lift 85kg in snatch and 109kg in clean and jerk for an overall effort of 194kg, a whopping 13kg less than her personal best of 207kg.

The reason for this holding back is twofold - firstly, Mirabai is recovering from a lengthy rehabilitation process, and secondly, Mirabai is already well-placed to qualify for the Paris Olympics and does not need to peak right now.

"We will create world records in the Olympic year... We have to take keep in mind her age also, she is not a kid anymore, her body needs to be taken care of more now," Sharma said of the 28-year-old.

Mirabai is returning from a long injury rehab for her shoulders and back. Dr Aaron Horschig, the US-based weightlifter turned strength-and-conditioning expert, has been closely monitoring her. The two had several virtual sessions over the past few months and one of the doctor's students has been at the NIS Patiala since February working with her.

As far as Olympic qualification goes, Mirabai is in the second spot behind China's Jiang Huihua in the latest Olympic Qualification Ranking (OQR) in the 49kg category. A total of 12 women will qualify.

The Asian Championship was a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but it is an additional event and not a compulsory one. Under the 2024 Olympic qualification rule, a lifter has to compulsorily compete in the 2023 World Championships and the 2024 World Cup, and three other events.

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