Visual by : Kunal Kaustav Duwarah
Article by Pragyamita Saha, The North-Eastern Chronicle
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, the silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in Women’s 49 kg. She secured India’s first medal in the games and a regular presence in international events since 2014 in the 48 kg category. Mirabai Chanu has won the World Championships and multiple medals at the Commonwealth Games.
However, for her tremendous contributions to the sport, she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. She was the first Indian lifter to win a silver at the Olympics and the second to win a medal after Karnam Malleswari’s bronze in Sydney in 2000.
Also read: Tokyo Olympics: Manipur CM N. Biren Singh announces cash prize of Rs. 1 CR to Mirabai Chanu for winning silver
Starting her journey from Small-town to Tokyo Olympics
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu started her journey from Nongpok Kakching, Imphal, Manipur, to a Meitei family. Her family identified her strength at an early age when she was simply 12. She could easily carry a huge bundle of firewood home when her elder brother found it hard to even pick it up.
Her first breakthrough came at the Glasgow edition of the Commonwealth Games; she won the silver medal in the 48 kg weight category.
After that, she was qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics in the women’s 48 kg category. However, she failed to finish the event, owing to no successful lifts in any of her three attempts in the clean & jerk section.
In 2017, she won the Gold medal in the Women’s 48 kg category by lifting a competition record 194 kg in total (85 kg snatch and 109 kg clean & jerk) in the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships held in the United States.
In 2021, Mirabai Chanu became the 1st and only woman Indian weightlifter to qualify for the 2021 Summer Games by securing the 2nd position in the 49kg category. The 27-year-old lifted 86 kg in snatch and then created the world record by lifting a massive 119 kg in the clean and jerk, for a total of 205 kg, which won her a Bronze medal and a ticket for the Tokyo Olympics.
The marvelous breakthrough in Tokyo Olympics, 2021
Chanu won the silver medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, becoming the 1st Indian weightlifter to win silver in the Olympics, winning a silver medal in 49kg weightlifting with a total lift of 202 kg.
Chanu managed to lift a total of 202 kg in the women’s 49kg category to become the second Indian weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari to win an Olympic medal. A new Olympic record was registered by Mirabai Chanu with a successful lift of 115kg in clean and jerk.
The praises and wishes are still echoing by the nation only for the 27-year-old girl who had won the first medal for India making a proud moment for every Indian.