A 23-year-old weightlifter from Manipur, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, put India’s name in GOLD on the very first day of the Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast in the women’s 48 kg category. What’s more? Lifting on her way to the yellow medal quest, she broke six records in six lifts to finish first in the women’s 48 kg with a combined effort of 196 kg! World Champion Chanu lifted more than double her body weight, claiming her second CWG medal following a silver clinch in Glasgow four years ago.
Here’s everything you need to know about the powerful weightlifter:
- The current double CWG medallist showed her weightlifting prowess even at 12 when she would challenge and lift more weight (firewood) than her elder brother, a state level footballer at the junior level.
On Thursday, she lifted total 196 kg (86 kg + 110 kg) – breaking her own personal record.
- The Manipuri was born in 1994 in Nongpok Kakching village about 20 km from Imphal. She is the youngest of six siblings. Mirabai would accompany her brother Saikhom Sanatomba Meitei, who is four years elder to her, to collect firewood.
- Mirabai’s father works as a lower level employee at the Public Works Department in Imphal. Her mother runs a small shop in their village.
- The young athlete began her weightlifting career in 2007 at Khuman Lampak Sports Complex. She 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.
- Last year Mirabai became the first Indian in over two decades, ending India’s 22-year wait for a 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.
Proud moment for India! pic.twitter.com/eViPI4XFYK
— SheThePeople (@SheThePeople) April 5, 2018
- Chanu, who works as a senior ticket checker with the Indian Railways, earned India its first medal at the World Championships since 1995.
- She also clinched gold at the Commonwealth Senior Weightlifting Championships held in Australia last year. This earned her a direct entry to this year’s 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 a silver while competing in the 48 kg category.
- Commonwealth gold came as a crown for Mirabai.
“I was devastated after not winning a medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, I made it my life mission to become the best in my sport,” Mirabai said on Thursday in Gold Coast.