Olympics Should Not Be Cancelled: Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu
Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has only one wish this year – she just wants to get “an Olympic medal” for herself. For the last four years, Mirabai has been preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to be held on July 24 to August 9 2020, which now may get postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak.
“If the Olympics doesn’t happen all our efforts for the last four years will all go to waste. I don’t want it to cancel, I am praying to god every day. I just wanted a get an Olympic medal for myself,” Former World champion Mirabai told PTI.
- Mirabai Chanu wants the Tokyo Olympics to go on as per schedule. “I wanted to improve my effort here so that I go to the Olympics high on confidence,” she said.
- She has been preparing for the Games for the last four years, says if plans changes now all her efforts of winning an Olympic medal will go in vain/
- Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to run between July 24-August 9 despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this year, Chanu broke her own national record in the National Weightlifting Championships, by lifting a total of 203kg to win the 49kg gold. She lifted 2kg more weight than she lifted last time.
Mirabai’s previous best of 201kg had come at the World Championship in Thailand in September last year, where she had finished fourth.
Mirabai, who has already sealed an Olympic quota, wants the Games to go as planned. “The pressure (of winning a medal) has changed to the Olympics should not be cancelled. That’s all I’m thinking. The rest, training, etc I am not tensed about right now,” she claimed.
Postponing will be a problem
“Even if it’s postponed there will be a lot of problem because a lot can change in a short period of time for us,” the 25-year-old Manipur girl expressed.
The Manipur weightlifter finished fourth in the 49kg event at the Asian Weightlifting Championship in April last year, where she lifted 199kg (86kg+113kg) but missed a medal. However, she won the women’s 49kg category and brought home a gold medal from the Sixth Qatar International Cup in Doha, late last year.
Weightlifting’s Olympic qualifying schedule has also been postponed with the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) cancelling the five continental championships, including the Asia event.
New challenges arise for Mirabai as now she has to better her personal best, to improve her total effort of 203kg (88kg+115kg). “I was preparing for Asian very well. There was a lot of uncertainty whether it will happen or not. I have already qualified for the Olympics but in the Asian Championship we would have got a clear picture,” she said.
“I wanted to improve my effort here so that I go to the Olympics high on confidence. That was the target. If the Asian Championship had taken place it would have been a good platform for me to better my performance,” she added.
Mirabai was on a break for almost four months because of a severe lower back injury. “The institute has also become quite empty as only the athletes training for the Olympics are left. Only the core group of weightlifting is training. We were scared of going out also. The number of cases is growing in India so that’s scary. Everyone has become very particular at training, so they keep on washing hands when we are practising. We keep reading the news for information as to how to protect ourselves,” she added.
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.
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