Who is Mirabai Chanu? The weightlifter made a crackling open for India on day one of the Tokyo Olympics, clinching silver in the women’s 49 kg category. And as the only Indian woman weightlifter representing the country at the games this year, her victory is momentous.
Chanu, 26 and from Manipur, came second, lifting 84 kg in her first attempt and clearing 87 kg on her second attempt. She was unable to lift 89 kg. China’s Zhihu Hou picked the gold medal, lifting a record 94 kg. Follow updates here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked Chanu’s “stupendous performance” saying, “Her success motivates every Indian.”
Could not have asked for a happier start to @Tokyo2020! India is elated by @mirabai_chanu’s stupendous performance. Congratulations to her for winning the Silver medal in weightlifting. Her success motivates every Indian. #Cheer4India #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/B6uJtDlaJo
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 24, 2021
Chanu is a woman of firsts in her sports field. Her breathtaking opening victory at the Olympics places her among icons for the ages, cementing India’s position at the games this year.
A video of children from Chanu’s hometown in Manipur praying for and cheering her on as she bagged silver is doing rounds online, symbolic of the elation she has inspired that is sweeping the nation both online and off. See below:
Excitement at the Manipur residence of @mirabai_chanu as she attempts a medal for the nation at #Tokyo2020
— Bijou ThaangJam (@BijouThaangjam) July 24, 2021
All You Should Know About Who Is Mirabai Chanu
Born in 1994 in the Nongpok Kakching village, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu was the youngest of six siblings. She would assist her family, of humble backgrounds, to collect firewood from local areas. Even as a tween, she could lift more wood with greater ease than her older brother – an early indication of the strengths she harboured and the victories to come.
In 2007, Chanu began weightlifting training at Khuman Lampak Sports Complex.
Her claim to international fame came at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where she picked silver in the 48 kg category. Two years later, she qualified for the Rio Olympics (in the same weight category) but failed to finish the event.
“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,” Chanu had said in 2018 after the Rio defeat fuelled her to pick gold at the Commonwealth Games that year. More on that here.
Her historic win then marked India’s first win at the 2018 games, as it did for the Tokyo Olympics this year.
Lifting Logs for Firewood to Winning an Olympic Medal for India: Mirabai Chanu’s Story
Twitter Congratulates Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu For Winning Silver Medal at Tokyo Olympics
Tokyo 2020: Mirabai Chanu Wins First Olympic Medal For India, Picks A Silver