Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu avenged her Rio heartbreak by finishing with the first silver for India in the 49 kg women's category. The star weightlifter becomes the first Indian to register a medal for the country. She lifted a total of 202 kg of weight and scripted an Olympic record by lifting 115 kg in clean and jerk.
Chanu began with 84 kg in the first snatch segment and progressed to an 87 kg lift which put her on a better pedestal than other athletes. At the Rio Olympics five years ago, she was one among the prominent Indian hopefuls but could not perform well. She shone after an outstanding performance in the World Championships and Commonwealth Games. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated her on Twitter, saying that he could not have asked for a better start at the Tokyo Olympics.
Chinese Athlete Grabs Gold
Chinese athlete Zhihui Hou bagged the Gold medal with an overall lift of 210 kg. She cut short Chanu's stride after lifting 88 kg in her first lift and finishing off with 94 kg in her third lift. The 19-year-old Indonesian weightlifter Windy Castinka clinched the Bronze after raising a total of 194 kg. An athlete can take three lifts in the two categories of clean and jerk and the snatch. The best lift in each category is combined for the overall score. Reuters reported that it is mandated for the athletes to be successful in the snatch before proceeding to the next category.
Manipur's Mirabai Chanu aspired to be an archer at the age of 14 years but fell in love with weightlifting and enrolled herself in the government-run centre in Imphal in 2007. She had to travel 20 km one way to reach for her early morning training sessions. She grabbed her first national title in 2009 and registered her name as an International athlete in 2012 in the Junior Asian Championships.
Meanwhile, a heart-warming moment unfolded at her home in Manipur after she clinched the silver. Her family, neighbours and friends, who were gathered at her home and watching the weightlifting event, burst into celebrations the moment she lifted a total of 202 kg (87kg+115kg).