In the women’s 49kg weightlifting final at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022, Mirabai Chanu, one of India’s top gold medal contenders, lived up to the hype by winning the nation’s maiden gold medal.
Chanu, who had won the gold four years earlier on Gold Coast, not only successfully defended her title by lifting 201 kg (88 kg in snatch and 113 kg in clean and jerk), but she also set a new record.
After Sanket Sargar won silver and Gururaja Poojary won bronze in their respective competitions, Chanu’s efforts gave India its third medal of the day in weightlifting.
Chanu’s performance was so dominant that the weight difference between her and silver medalist Marie Ranaivosoa of Mauritius was a whopping 29kgs.
Chanu lifted 84kg on the first try, taking an 8kg lead over the second best. Chanu added 4 kg to her next snatch attempt and lifted 88kgs with ease, smashing her personal best and setting a CWG record. One of the questions surrounding Chanu leading up to the CWG was whether she could lift 90 kgs. She decided to go for it, but she was unable to pull it off.
However, that minor error did not significantly impact the outcome of the competition. Chanu set the record and won India’s first gold medal at this edition of the CWG by lifting 109 kg in just her first try of the clean and jerk.
However, Chanu wasn’t satisfied there. She added 4 kg to her second effort, wrapped her hands tightly around the barbell, and lifted an incredible 113 kg. Chanu’s final effort was at 115 kg, and even though she struggled to land it successfully, it made little difference. The Indian National Anthem could now be heard loud and clear throughout the arena.
Chanu’s accomplishments at the Olympics last year were her first significant victory. Like many of her other well-known Olympic medal winners, the weightlifter, 27, has become rather reticent since her defeat in Tokyo.
Since the Games in August of last year, Chanu had only participated in one competition, the Singapore International in February, where she won the 55kg category by lifting 191kg.
After that, she relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where she worked with Dr. Aaron Horschig, her longtime strength and conditioning coach, to give both sides of her shoulder, which is frequently in the spotlight, additional power.
The Manipuri weightlifter, who competes with her inner ambition to exceed the limits, is in a class of her own at the CWG level.
Her personal best at the Asian Championships last year (86 kg snatch + 119 kg clean and jerk, a world record) has been listed as Chanu’s entry total for Saturday (205 kg).
At the CWG, India has been the traditional weightlifting powerhouse, with over a tonne of medals to show for it.
4 years ago on the Gold Coast, the country’s weightlifters won nine medals, five of which were gold, including Chanu in the 48kg weight class. It’s only the second day after four years, and we’ve already had three, with one more likely to be added late tonight.