One of the many Indian athletes seeking reclamation in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics is weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu. Rio Olympics 2016 was Chanu's maiden Olympic Games. However, it happened to be one of the worst performances of her sporting career.
However, in a recent interview, the 26-year-old athlete noted, "Now I am matured to handle the pressure and confident of winning a medal in Tokyo," reported The Times of India. As the 26-year-old strives to make her mark this time, let us take a look at her journey so far.
Beginning Of Career
Chanu was born in 1994 at Nongpok Kakching in Manipur. Her strength was first noticed by her family when she was just 12. She could easily carry a heavy bundle of firewood that her elder brother found hard even to pick up. The athlete saw her first international breakthrough in 2014 at the Glasgow edition of the Commonwealth Games. Here, she won the silver medal in the 48 kg weight category.
The athlete qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016 in the women's 48 kg category. However, Chanu observed the lowest on her career at the most significant stage for sports, when she could not lift the weight in any of her three attempts in the clean and jerk section.
Comeback In Championships
In the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships held in the United States, Chanu made a comeback when she won the gold medal in the same category by lifting a competition record 194 kg in total. But her quest for setting records did not stop here. Chanu won the first gold medal for India in the Commonwealth Games 2018. En route to the medal, she broke the record for the weight category.
At the 2019 Asian Weightlifting Championships, she lifted a total weight of 199 kg, winning a Bronze in Clean and Jerk at the 49 kg Category. The same year, at the World Weightlifting Championships, she lifted a total of 201 kgs to finish 4th. This was not only her personal best total, but it also created a new national record in the 49 kg category.
Qualifying For Tokyo Olympics
But Chanu did not grow complacent. She herself broke this record four months later by lifting 203 kgs to win gold at the 2020 Senior National Weightlifting Championships. This year, Chanu became the first Indian weightlifter to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and has been the only woman to participate in this edition of the Olympics.
According to the athlete, her only reason for concern is that her shoulder gets tight sometimes, affecting her snatch. However, she has been working on it with Dr Aaron Horschig, a former weightlifter-turned-physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach. Currently, she has reached Tokyo after going through a 50-day training stint in St Louis, USA.
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