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Weight on their shoulders: Mirabai and co eye podium finish in Commonwealth Games 2022


Express News Service

CHENNAI:  After the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Mirabai Chanu turned into a household name. The diminutive Manipuri from a humble background braved odds to become the first medallist at the Olympics last year. The silver she won at the Games was etch­ed in history and was made of sweat and toil.

On Saturday, when the Commonwealth Games medal hunt begins at the swanky weightlifting hall in Birmingham, Mirabai may not be the first medallist this time.

Yet, she would be in action on Day One and firework is expected. Since India are considered as powerhouse in the sport, medals are expected from most weightlifters.

In Gold Coast, she had won gold in 48kg with a CWG record. This time, all eyes will be on her and the record book. 

To put it in perspective, her personal best in her weight category (49kg) is 207kg (88kg snatch and 119kg clean & jerk), 39kg more than the second-best lifter, Nigeria’s Stella Kingsley.

Kingley’s best effort is 168kg (72kg 96kg). “CWG is relatively easy for me, I will be fighting with myself,” the ace lifter had told mediapersons before leaving for the training camp.”  

Mirabai Chanu (49kg) will follow the two men (Sanket Sargar 55kg & Gururaja 61kg) to the platform on Saturday evening (India time). While S Bindyarani Devi (55kg) will be the last lifter in action.

The Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) president Sahdev Yadav is expecting all four Indian lifters to finish on the podium with at least two of them returning with gold.

“Of course, Mirabai is the best bet for gold for us in her weight category. Besides her, Sanket can finish on the top of the podium,” Yadav said.

Indian lifters won nine medals including five gold, two silver and as many bronze in the previous edition. And head coach Vijay Sharma was bullish about his trainees eclipsing that record before leaving for Birmingham last month.

“We expect to outdo our previous best,” he had told this daily. For India, weightlifting has fetched second-most medals at the CWG so far after shooting. 

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