Weightlifting: Top 5 Indian lifters of all time
Weightlifting has always been a sport which hasn't gained much traction amongst the masses. Be that as it may, India has produced some champion lifters over the years who have made the country proud.
Weightlifting is a prominent sport in the Olympics right from 1896, and the game has evolved since then. The Indian weightlifting federation was formed in 1935, with the first president being Shri Bijoy Chand Mahatab. The first Indian weightlifting contingent participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. However, Indian women lifters made their debut only in 1989 in the World Championships at Manchester.
India has produced some of the finest weightlifters who have performed very well at the big stage. Let us look at the top five Indian weightlifters of all time:
Karnam Malleswari (Andhra Pradesh):
Karnam Malleswari is an Indian weightlifter born on 1 June 1975 in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. It all started for her in 1993 Melbourne, where she won a bronze medal in the World championship. Next year she went on to bag a Gold medal in the World Championship held in Istanbul. She has won 4 medals in the world championship comprising of two gold and two bronze. The Indian lifter eventually created history at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she won a bronze medal by lifting a total of 240kg. Even before the Olympics, she was awarded the Arjuna award in 1994, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 1994-95 and Padma Shri in 1999.
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (Manipur):
Mirabai chanu was born on 8 August 1994. The Manipuri lifter has been a regular feature for India right from 2014 in the 48 kg category. She first garnered attention when she won a silver medal in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Three years later, she won a gold medal at the World championship in 2017. In 2018, she was awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Padma Shri for her excellence in weightlifting.
Kunjarani Devi (Manipur):
Kunjarani Devi, born on 1 March 1968, was considered one of the best Weightlifters of her time. The Manipuri lifter won 7 silver medals in the World championship and 2 bronze medals in the Asian games, which was in the 44kg and 46kg category. In 1985, she decided to switch from powerlifting to weightlifting since weightlifting was getting popular. She first started in the same year at the National Games, where she ended up winning a gold medal. After her remarkable career, she went on to join Central Reserve Police Force. She received awards such as the Arjuna award in 1990, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 1996-97 and Padma Shri in 2011.
Sathish Sivalingam (Tamil Nadu):
Sathish Sivalingam, born on 23 June 1992, is a double gold medallist at the commonwealth games in 2014 and 2018. He developed an interest in weightlifting from his father, who was the national champion in weightlifting. He contested in 77kg in both the commonwealth games, where he won gold. In Rio Olympics, he didn't perform well, finishing at 11th among the 14 lifters but still he is considered to be one of the best lifters the nation has ever seen.
Jeremy Lalrinnunga (Mizoram):
Jeremy Lalrinnunga, born on 26 October 2002, is a bright prospect for India in Weightlifting. The 18-years-old rose to the limelight when he won a gold medal in the Boys 62 kg category at the Youth Olympics in 2018. He performed in the senior category at the 2019 World Weightlifting championship, where he finished at 21st position. A lot of expectations are on the youngster to perform well at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.