Mirabai Chanu won the first medal for India in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, bagging the silver medal for weightlifting in the 49kg division. She lifted a total weight of 202kg. China’s Zhihui Hou won the gold medal, lifting 210kg while Indonesia’s Windy Cantika Aisah won the bronze medal.
Mirabai set a new record for weightlifting in Olympics, lifting 115kg in clean and jerk. While she managed to get an early advantage by lifting 84 and 87 kg successfully, China’s Zhihui Hou found her own momentum by lifting 88kg in her first attempt. She later set an Olympic record by lifting 94kg in the snatch of her third lift.
“I have just been home for five days in the past five years. Now I will go with this medal,” said Chanu, whose family is based in Nongpok Kakching village about 20 kilometres from Imphal. The Indian ace suffered a disappointing campaign in the previous edition of the Olympics in Rio, and the loss was motivation for her to do better the next time around.
Her coach, Vijay Sharma also revealed post-victory that he was under a lot of pressure following the Rio campaign. The strict routine that he set for his apprentice has now paid off.
Chanu changed her technique and routine since Rio, and now has a silver medal at the biggest stage to show for all her hard work. This is India’s first medal in weightlifting in 21 years, following Karnam Malleswari’s bronze medal in Sydney.