Mirabai Chanu: India’s Champion Weightlifter
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (born 8 August 1994) is an Indian weightlifter. She won the silver medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Women’s 49 kg.Mirabai Chanu has won the World Championships and multiple medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Her journey from a nativity of being a vulnerable girl who was bullied in her village in Manipur to the top of world’s podiums was very inspiring. Mirabai Chanu is from Okhaldhunga district, Nagaon district of Manipur. Mirabai was born in a poor family and her father was a plumber. Her father, like many others in her district, is a poor farmer. She went to school until class 2 but left due to lack of money and moved to Imphal to support her father’s business. She became a teashop worker when her husband, Manoj Chanu, a nurse at Sangaiprou District Hospital, asked for a day’s leave from work so that he could bring his new baby daughter to the hospital for checkup. The hospital doctor suggested the name Mirabai for Mirabai being her family name and Chanu for Manoj.
2013 National Champion for India She won the National Championship for India in Weightlifting and Squash in 2013. She won the 69 kg category by lifting a total of 274 kg. She broke the games record in snatch with an attempt of 110 kg. She broke the games record in clean and jerk, lifting 142 kg in her last attempt. She finished at a silver position after having completed all three events. 2014 Commonwealth Games participant and Bronze Medalist She participated in 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, Scotland and won the Bronze medal in 48 kg weight class. Her final performance was 109 kg in snatch and 168 kg in clean and jerk. She also participated in 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea. She won the Bronze medal in 48 kg weight class in 2014 Asian Games.
Chanu competes in the +75 kg category. In 2018, Chanu claimed the World record at the Commonwealth Games. She lifted 194 kilograms. In 2018, she won the Commonwealth Games Gold medal in the weightlifting event in a Commonwealth Games record of 194 kg, making her the first Indian weightlifter to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, thereby making India the first Asian nation to win at least one gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Chanu claimed the Gold Medal at the Asian Games in 2018 in the Weightlifting event in the women’s 48 kg category. In 2017, she became the first Indian weightlifter to win a Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Personal Life Chanu has a younger sister, Parameshwari, who also works as a weightlifter. She enjoys the outdoors and physical activities.
Mirabai Chanu was awarded the Padma Shri by Government of India in 2018. She received the Arjuna Award in 2017. She was also awarded the Junior National Women’s Weightlifting Champion and was awarded the Lucknow Region’s BSP award for her exemplary and hard work. In 2018, Mirabai was awarded with the Arjuna Award by the Government of India, which is the fourth highest sporting honour in India. She is the first Indian weightlifter to win the Arjuna Award, which was received by her in a function in New Delhi on 14 September 2018.
Till date India hasn’t achieved any medal in Weightlifting in the Olympics since 1936. Women Weightlifting was one of the six sports included in the programme of the first Olympic Winter Games, 1948 in St. Moritz. There are many examples of medals won in the 20th and 21st century by Indian weightlifters. Currently, the sport is yet to be included in the Olympic Games. Other notable sportspersons Hima Das She has won two gold medals in the Asian Athletics U-20 Championships, 2018, in the 400m and 4x400m relay. Manika Batra She has won two bronze medals in the 2018 Asian Games. Swapna Barman She won gold medal in the heptathlon in the 2018 Asian Games. Kalpana Mishra She won bronze medal in heptathlon in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
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