Saikhom Mirabai Chanu became the first Indian in 22 years to win a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championship in Anaheim, USA, exorcising the ghosts of her forgettable outing at the Rio Olympics.
Lifting a new world record of 194kg – 85kg snatch and 109kg clean-and-jerk – to lift gold at the World Weightlifting Championships, Mirabai Chanu won the gold medal at World Weightlifting Championship, and also became the only second Indian weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari to achieve that feat. It has been 22 years since India has not won any gold medal in weight lifting, and after a gold-drought of over two decades, Chanu’s feat is a moment of pride for the whole nation. But this win was very significant as Chanu had been struggling with performances on international level.
Last year, after her mediocre performance at the Rio Olympics, Chanu was lifted out of the game but ever since then, the 23-year-old from Imphal put in a lot of effort to improve her overall strength and is deservedly reaping the benefits. In September, Chanu sealed passage to next year’s Commonwealth Games after winning gold at the Commonwealth Senior weightlifting championships held in Australia. And when she achieved the honourable feat at WWC, Chanu was left in tears as he went up to the podium to collect her medal. She also broke the Commonwealth record in snatch event with a lift of 85kg, bettering her own record by one kilogram.
Olympic bronze medallist Karnam Malleshwari had won the top prize in worlds twice – in 1994 and 1995. It was a moment of pride when the tricolour rose from the podium as Chanu picked up a rare honour for an Indian at the marquee event. Thailand’s Sukcharoen Thunya won the silver medal with a total lift of 193, while Segura Ana Iris bagged the brozne with 182kg at the the World Weightlifting Championship 2017.