Former World champion and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Mirabai Chanu won a clean and steady ​fourth podium finish in the 49kg category at the World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand on Thursday. Bettering her own personal record of 199kg, which she had achieved at the Asian championships in Ningbo, China this April, in the process, she became the first woman weightlifter from the country to breach the mark of 200kg. She lifted a total of 201 (87 in snatch + 114 in clean and jerk) in her weight category — more than four times her body weight. Her earlier national record was 199kg (88kg+111kg).

​Key Takeaways:

  • Mirabai came close to a podium finish before settling for a fourth-place finish in the 49kg category.
  • She became the first woman weightlifter from India to breach the mark of 200kg.
  • In the process she surpassed her personal best of 199kg, which she had achieved at the Asian championships in Ningbo, China this April.
  • Mirabai Saikhom Chanu failed to clinch a medal at the World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand but lifted a total that was more than four times her body weight.

Mirabai now ranks third in the world in her 49kg category. she is prepping for Tokyo as the country’s No.1 in her weight division.

The points will reflect on a better global rankings as her chances for ​Tokyo Olympics qualification is pretty high now. At Worlds her performance holds much significance. However, ranking of each weight category will be released by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) at the end of the qualification cycle in April 2020.

Along with her coaches Mirabai is planning to go for two more competitions in coming months to help her improve the rank. These competitions will also fall in the Olympic qualification cycle. “Lifting a total in excess of 200kg is generally considered a safe mark for a lifter since not many, apart from Chinese and Koreans, have been able to breach that figure in this weight category,” India’s chief national weightlifting coach Vijay Sharma told TOI from Pattaya.

“It’s been just a few months since Mirabai has started competing again. She had suffered a career threatening back injury in 2018, which kept her out of the arena for nine months. We don’t want to rush her into heavy training. She recently lifted a total of 203kg during a training session in Patiala and we wanted her to lift more than 200kg at the Worlds. Our focus is to get her lift a total of 210kg closer to the Tokyo Olympics,” said Sharma.

A steady year so far

The 25-year-old weightlifter from Manipur finished fourth in the 49kg event at the Asian Weightlifting Championship in April this year, where she lifted 199kg (86kg+113kg) but missed a medal by a whisker.

Mirabai was on a break for almost four months. Now, fully recovered from a severe lower back injury, the weightlifter stayed at a rehabilitation centre in Mumbai for months. Mirabai has now set a target for Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Mirabai’s injury

Mirabai was on a break for almost four months. Now, fully recovered from a severe lower back injury, the weightlifter stayed at a rehabilitation centre in Mumbai for months. Mirabai has now set a target for Tokyo Olympics 2020. Every day before going to bed and before the start of my training, I look at the figure. I know it will not be possible for me to cross the 200 kg weight bar in the forthcoming Asian Championship. So I have set it for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Looking at the figure every day I feel motivated,” she had claimed, The Bridge reported.

She had earlier withdrawn from the 2018 Asian Games and World Championship, stating that she needed some time to prepare for the big Olympic qualifiers.

READ:Who Is Mirabai Chanu? Know More About This Manipuri Sensation

“More importantly they are going to be my opponents again in the upcoming international meets. So watching the top weightlifters on TV has helped me a lot in my preparation.” the Manipuri had said earlier. She comes from a financially challenged family with her father working as a lower level employee at the Public Works Department in Imphal while her mother runs a small shop in their village.

I have competed with Asian weightlifters at the Rio Olympics and 2017 World Championship. I have followed their performance at the Asian Games. All of them have matured a lot, changing their style and technique. It has helped me immensely after I resumed training.”

On resuming training, she said, I have competed with Asian weightlifters at the Rio Olympics and 2017 World Championship. I have followed their performance at the Asian Games. All of them have matured a lot, changing their style and technique. It has helped me immensely after I resumed training.”

Career graph so far

Chanu began her weightlifting career in 2007 and came into limelight during the trials of Rio Olympics 2016 weightlifting event in Patiala where she broke the national record of her inspiration Kunjarana Devi. She won her first gold medal at the age of 11. In 2017, Mirabai became the first Indian in over two decades, ending India’s 22-year wait for World Championship gold. She won a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championship in Anaheim, USA. She is also the second Indian to win a gold medal at the event, after Karnam Malleswari.

Her moment of pride came when clinched gold at the Commonwealth Senior Weightlifting Championships held in Australia, 2017. This earned her direct entry to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Weightlifter also claimed a gold medal at the 12th South Asian Games in 2016. During 2014 Commonwealth games held in Glasgow, she bagged silver while competing in the 48 kg category.

Feature image credit: dailypasban.com

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