Mirabai Chanu ready for some heavy lifting at CWG 2022 | Commonwealth Games 2022 News – Times of India
The diminutive Manipuri weightlifter has, since her Gold Coast exploits, come a long way, improving upon her performance massively in clean & jerk, and holds the world record (in 49kg category) of 119kg she lifted at the Asian Championships in April last year. Her personal best is a total of 205kg, but it’s the snatch where she’s still looking to master the technique. Her personal best of 87kg in snatch (2019 Worlds in USA’s Anaheim) doesn’t justify her immense talent.
Mirabai will headline the country’s 15-member weightlifting contingent which will contest in 14 different categories at the CWG. The former World champion and the rest of the squad has been camping in Birmingham since June 24, acclimatising to the conditions and undergoing a preparatory camp.
India had topped the weightlifting chart in Gold Coast as the best-performing nation, winning a total of nine medals, including five gold.
Mirabai will be in action on the opening day of the weightlifting competitions at the NEC Arena on July 30, along with Bindyarani Devi in the women’s 55kg category.
For Mirabai, the two-time CWG medallist, defending her title in Birmingham shouldn’t pose a problem. Her nearest rival, Nigeria’s Stella Kingsley, has a personal best of 168kg (72+96kg), which is 37kg shy of the Indian’s PB.
Since Tokyo, Mirabai has competed only once. In February – after a gap of seven months during which she missed the Commonwealth and World Championships in November 2021 – she had participated at the Singapore International meet, where she secured the gold in the 55kg class with an overall effort of 191kg (86kg in snatch+105kg in clean & jerk).
Mirabai was originally scheduled to participate in a new weight category of 55kg at the CWG, before returning to her original weight division (49kg) for the now-postponed Hangzhou Asian Games and the Paris Olympics. She was, however, forced to switch to her preferred weight after the international weightlifting federation (IWF) rejected her entry in the 55kg on ranking grounds.
Mirabai holds both the Commonwealth (CR) and the Games record (GR) in snatch and clean & jerk. In Gold Coast, she lifted 86kg in snatch (CR, GR) and 110kg in clean & jerk (CR, GR) for a total of 196kg (CR, GR) en route her gold medal triumph in the 48kg division.
For Mirabai, there was a time in her professional career when injuries to shoulder and lower-back drove her to a point of almost giving up. The 2016 Rio Olympics meltdown filled her mind with self-doubt. But the fighter she is, Mirabai put all her pain and sufferings behind to claim the World Championships crown (2017), CWG gold (2018), Asian meet bronze (2020) and, then the biggest prize of all, a silver at the Tokyo Games (2021).
But the hunger for more medal glory hasn’t died down. After the CWG, she has set her sights on the only prize missing from her glittering trophy cabinet – a medal at the Asian Games – and, of course, a gold finish in Paris 2024.
“After returning from Tokyo, my sole focus has been on winning gold at the CWG and Asian Games. My main target was the Asiad because the competition there is one of the toughest. All the big Asian weightlifting powerhouse compete and one has to be absolutely in the peak of his/her powers. Since that has been postponed, my focus has shifted back to defending my crown in Birmingham. I am confident of performing well. I have improved my technique in snatch and the changes will be visible during my campaign,” she said.
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