Mirabai Chanu on Saturday won a silver medal in the women’s 49 kg weightlifting competition to open India’s counter at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Manipur athlete lifted a total weight of 202 kgs to win the medal. The gold in the event was won by China’s Hou Zhihui with a combined weight total of 210 kgs.
She picked a total of 87 kgs in the snatch part of the event and ended with a lift of 115 kgs in clean and jerk. She is the second Indian weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari to win an Olympic medal.
Chanu has been a world champion in the past when she won the gold medal in the 48 kg category in Anaheim. She is the reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 48kg category.
The gold went to China’s Hou Zhihui with an effort of 210kg (94kg 116kg), while 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 one 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 jerk, Chanu, the world record holder in the section, lifted 110kg and 115kg in the first two attempts.
However, she was unable to raise 117kg in her final attempt but it was enough to fetch her a medal and open India’s account.
The diminutive Manipuri broke down after realizing that she has secured a medal and hugged her coach in jubilation.
She later broke into dance too to celebrate the historic podium finish.