- Mirabai Chanu opened India’s medal tally at the Tokyo Olympics, clinching a silver medal in the women’s 49kg weightlifting category. The 26-year-old Manipuri girl lifted a total of 202kg (87kg+115kg), becoming the second weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari (2000 Sydney Olympics) to win a medal at the Games.
- This comes as a big achievement for Mirabai, who failed to log a single legitimate lift in Rio 2016 Olympics. The gold was won by China’s Hou Zhihui with an effort of 210kg and the bronze by Indonesia’s Aisah Windy Cantika with an effort of 194kg.
- Zhihui, world record holder in snatch (96kg) and total (213kg), hoisted 94kg, 116kg and 210kg to set Olympic records in snatch, clean and jerk, and total on her way to the gold. Indonesian Windy Aisah (84, 110, 194) bagged the bronze.
- The Manipuri took her time and cleanly heaved the barbell, attempting 84kg in her first snatch attempt. She then lifted 87kg in her next attempt and raised the weight to 89kg, which was one 1kg more than her personal best of 88kg that she had lifted at the national championship last year. However, she was unable to better her personal best and settled for 87kg in the snatch event only behind Zhihui, who created a new Olympic record with an effort of 94kg.
- In the clean jerk, Chanu, the world record holder in the section, lifted 110kg and 115kg in the first two attempts. However, she was unable to raise 117kg in her final attempt but it was enough to fetch her medal and open India’s account.
Mirabai Chanu’s profile
Awards: Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Padma Shri
Achievements: Gold: Women’s 48kg, World Championships, Anaheim, USA, 2017: women’s 48kg, Commonwealth Games 2018, Gold Coast; Silver: Women’s 49kg, Tokyo Olympics, 2020; Women’s 48kg, Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, 2014; Bronze: Women’s 49kg, Asian championships, Tashkent, 2021.
- Mirabai is the first lifter to win a silver at the Olympics and the second to win a medal after Karnam Malleswari’s bronze in Sydney 2000
- She is the second Indian woman to clinch an Olympic silver after P.V. Sindhu
- Her first coach was L. Anita Chanu who trained her at the Khuman Lampak training centre in Imphal