- Mirabai Chanu secured India’s first gold medal in the CWG 2022
- Mirabai Chanu was the favourite to win gold in 49kg
- This is India’s third medal of the 2022 Commonwealth Games
One of India’s premier medal hopes at the Commonwealth Games 2022, Mirabai Chanu secured the country’s first gold medal in the CWG 2022 when she finished first in the women’s 49 kg weightlifting event in Birmingham on Saturday.
In the process, Mirabai defended her CWG crown and smashed the Commonwealth and Commonwealth Games’ weightlifting record by lifting 201 kg. Notably, Chanu had won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games 2018 at Goldcoast and took a massive 12kg lead over her nearest opponent, courtesy of her second throw in the snatch round.
Chanu’s first attempt in the snatch was comfortable before she lifted 88kg in the second before leaving 90kg for the third and final attempt. She was not able to record a new personal best but still went into the clean and jerk with a 12kg advantage over Ranaivosoa.
The clean and jerk began in a rather dramatic fashion with Bangladesh’s Marija Akhter falling on the floor after a failed attempt for 70kg. With her nearest rivals attempting 15kgs less than Chanu, the result was a foregone conclusion
Chanu was the favourite to win gold in 49kg as she had the best record among all those in the fray. Her 203kg combined lift in Tokyo qualified her for the event and is 35kg better than the next best qualifier, Stella Peter Kingsley of Nigeria who lifted 168kg at the world championships last year.
The silver went to Mauritius’ Marie Hanitra Roilya Ranaivosoa (172kg) and bronze to Canada’s Hannah Kaminski (171 kg). Her nearest rival in the field, Stella Kingsley of Nigeria, came into the contest with a personal best of 168kg (72kg+96kg), summing up the gulf between her and the rest.
The atmosphere at the NEC arena was electric, pushing the athletes to give their best with the music keeping the fans entertained. As the MC also pointed out, with Chanu head and shoulders above others, the outing was more about competing with herself than her opponents.
This is India’s third medal of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with Sanket Sargar clinching the silver medal in the men’s 55 kg category and P Gururaja winning a bronze medal in the men’s 61kg category earlier in the day.
“I know what the fans want. I will try my best to do well in the CWG. After Tokyo, I have been focusing mainly on my technique and right now I can only assure you that everything is fine with my training and technique. I have done a lot of work on that,” Chanu had said before the CWG games.