India gets first medal at Tokyo Olympics as weightlifter Mirabai Chanu clinches silver

07/24/2021

Tokyo, Jul. 24: A confident smile never leaving her face, Mirabai Chanu ended India's over two-decade long wait for a weightlifting medal at the Olympics, clinching the 49kg category silver medal five years after leaving the same platform in tears following a disastrous debut.

With her historic triumph, she ensured that India was second on the medals tally for now, a feat that has never been achieved before by the country.

The diminutive iron lady from Manipur lifted a total of 202kg (87kg+115kg) to better Karnam Malleswari's bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. With this, she exorcised the ghosts of the 2016 Games where she had failed to log a single legitimate lift, leaving her shattered.

"I am very happy, I have been dreaming of this for the past five years. I am very proud of myself right now. I did try for gold but even silver is a great achievement for me," Chanu told reporters after her career-defining triumph for which she had been training in the US for past few months.

The 2016 experience was a watershed in her career and Chanu had spoken about how confused she had felt during her debut at the biggest stage. There was none of those nerves to be seen on Saturday, just a very composed and focussed athlete who knew she was destined for the podium.

"I am very happy to win the first medal for India at these Games. I don't just belong to Manipur, I belong to the whole country," she added in response to a query on what it meant for her as a Manipuri.

Her smile shone the brightest during the entire performance on Saturday but also hard to miss were the Olympic rings' shaped earrings that she was sporting, which were a gift from her mother.

The gold went to China's Hou Zhihui with an effort of 210kg (94kg+116kg), who created Olympic records in all three categories (snatch, clean and jerk and Total).

Aisah Windy Cantika of Indonesia took home the bronze with an effort of 194kg (84kg+110kg).

Considered her weakness in the run up to the marquee event, Chanu attempted 84kg in her first snatch attempt. The Manipuri took her time and cleanly heaved the barbell.

She lifted 87kg in her next attempt and raised the weight to 89kg, which was 1kg more than her personal best of 88kg that she had lifted at the national championship last year.

However, she was unable to better her personal best and settled for 87kg in the snatch event only behind leader Zhihui, who created a new Olympic record with an effort of 94kg.

The Chinese lifter also holds the world mark (96kg) in the category.

In the clean and jerk, world record holder Chanu lifted 110kg and 115kg in the first two attempts.

However, she was unable to raise 117kg in her final attempt, which would have been an Olympic record but it was enough to fetch her a medal and open India's account.

The diminutive Mannipuri broke down after realising that she has secured a medal and hugged head coach Vijay Sharma in jubiliation.

She later broke into a punjabi bhangra too to celebrate the historic podium finish.

Delighted by her achievement, not even a face mask could hide Chanu's smile that spread ear to ear at the medal ceremony, where there was a bit of confusion among the winners.

As per COVID-19 protocols laid out for the Games, the winners were supposed to be social distanced and not pose for a group photograph as per the Games protocols.

But the three medallist congratulated each other and came together to get pictures clicked before being asked to distance by an official.

An Olympic medal was long overdue for the Indian, who has proved her mettle as a fighter in the international arena time and again.

Her cabinet includes a coveted world championship gold medal, two Commonwealth Games medals -- silver in 2014 and gold in 2018 -- and an Asian Championship bronze.-PTI

Related News

Malinga is world’s best yorker bowler, says Bumrah

New Delhi, June 5: India’s premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah has described Lasith Malinga as the “best yorker bowler in the world” and said the veteran Sri Lankan has used his mastery over the delivery for a very long period of time in international cricket. “Malinga is the best yorker bowler…

English Premier League teams prepare for restart with practice games

London, June 7: Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal were among the clubs who stepped up their preparations for the Premier League's return by holding practice matches. Clubs are attempting to build up players' fitness as well as get used to playing without fans before the league resumes on June 17…

ICC ratifies interim ban on saliva on ball

London, June 10: Players will be banned from the age-old technique of using saliva to shine a ball when cricket emerges from the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Tuesday. Several other interim measures designed to ensure the safety of players and match…

Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium workers went months without pay, says Amnesty

Dubai, June 11: A Qatari company helping build a 2022 World Cup stadium has been banned from the event's projects after its labourers went unpaid for months, organisers said on Thursday, in a case Amnesty International said showed inadequate worker welfare standards. Around 100 employees of a Qatari subcontractor, Qatar…

Pak ex-cricketer Shahid Afridi tests positive for coronavirus, says 'need prayers for speedy recovery'

Karachi, June 13: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi on Saturday said he has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first high-profile cricketer to be infected with the deadly virus. "I've been feeling unwell since Thursday; my body had been aching badly. I've been tested and unfortunately I'm COVID-19 positive. Need…

Gary Kirsten recalls how he landed India coach's job in 7 minutes

New Delhi, June 15: He was never interested in coaching neither did he apply for the job, but it took exactly seven minutes for Gary Kirsten to land the high-profile India coach's job back in 2007, a process set in motion by the great Sunil Gavaskar. Speaking on the 'Cricket…

Video

Find Us on Facebook

From Social