THE MO­MENT OF RE­DEMP­TION FOR LIFTER MIRABAI CHANU

In­dian weightlifter wins gold at World Cham­pi­onships to make up for her Rio Olympics de­feat.

The Sunday Guardian - - Sports - SAJI CHACKO NEW DELHI

For Mirabai Chanu, it was a case of re­demp­tion. The 23- year- old Mamipuri weightlifter, who had a night­mar­ish ex­pe­ri­ence at the Rio Olympics a year ago, her gold in the 46kg cat­e­gory in the World Cham­pi­onships in An­heim, US, was just the sort of suc­cess she was look­ing for­ward to. In the process, Mirabai be­come the only se­cond In­dian in 20 years to win a medal at the World Cham­pi­onships after her idol Kun­jarani Devi .

Speak­ing to the Sun­day Guardian, Mirabai said the gold medal at the World Cham­pi­onships had been like a balm on her poor Rio per­for­mance. “It was dis­ap­point­ing I could not win a medal in Rio Olympics. I made mis­takes (in Rio) and I am still sad about that. This medal has erased that sad­ness. I will work on my weak­nesses and try to win medals in CWG and Asian Games next year and Tokyo Olympics.”

She was so much over­come by emo­tion after her win that she was re­duced to tears at the award win­ning cer­e­mony. “I could not hold back my tears when the tri­color was hoisted and the na­tional an- them was played. I felt that I had won the hon­our not only for me but also for my coun­try,” she said.

Mirabai also had a spe­cial word for her coach Vi­jay Sharma. “There is no deny­ing the fact that I could not have won the gold medal with­out the hard ef­fort put in by my coach Vi­jay Sharma. He (Vi­jay) played a very big role in me for­get­ting by Rio ex­pe­ri­ence and he goaded me all along to win the gold at the World Cham­pi­onships. I am very for­tu­nate to get some­one like him to help me out,”said Mirabai.

Com­ing back to her stu­pen­dous ef­fort at the World Cham­pi­onships in the US, Mirabai said she was de­ter­mined to make amends for her dis­ap­point­ment of Rio. ‘At the Rio Olympics, I made some er­rors. I was cau­tious this time and wanted to peak at the right time with my lifts. My coach ad­vised me to do the same and the re­sults were there for ev­ery­one to see,” she added. Mirabai lifted 85kg in snatch and 109kg in clean and jerk to to­tal an im­pres­sive 194kg in the women's 48kg, in the process set­ting a new na­tional record.

With her lift of 85kg, Mirabai came se­cond in snatch but bagged the top po­si­tions each in clean & jerk and in the over­all to­tal to fin- ish with the yel­low me­tal in a field of 20 lifters. Thai­land's Sukcharoen Thunya won the sil­ver with a to­tal lift of 193, while Se­gura Ana Iris bagged the bronze with 182kg.

It must be men­tioned here that Mirabai had fin­ished ninth in the 2015 World Cham­pi­onships while she ended 11th in the 2014 edi­tion. In Septem­ber, she had booked a berth for next year's Com­mon­wealth Games after win­ning gold at the Com­mon­wealth Se­nior Weightlift­ing Cham­pi­onships held in Aus­tralia. Here she had bro­ken Com­mon­wealth record in snatch event with a lift of 85kg, bet­ter­ing her own record by a kg.

Mirabai's per­for­mance in the World Cham­pi­onships out­ing in the USA was very dif­fer­ent from the way things panned out in Rio last year when she put up a dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance as she could not get an over­all to­tal in women's 48kg after fail­ing to lift the weight in any of her three at­tempts in clean & jerk sec­tion. In a field of 12 lifters at the Rio Games, she was one of two lifters who did not fin­ish (DNF) her event.

On their part, Pres­i­dent Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi tweeted their con­grat­u­la­tions on Chanu's gold-medal win­ning ef­fort.

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