Published: 26th July 2021
What The FAQ: Here's what you need to know about Olympic medallist Mirabai Chanu
With a combined weight of 202 kg lifted in the 49 kg category, Mirabai managed to open India's medal tally at the 2020 Olympic Games
Mirabai Chanu created history at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Indian to win a silver medal in weightlifting. With a combined weight of 202 kg lifted in the 49 kg category, Mirabai managed to open India's medal tally at the 2020 Olympic Games. Here's all you need to know about the 26-year-old weightlifter from Manipur:
Who is Mirabai Chanu?
Hailing from a small village called Nongpok Kakching in the district of East Imphal in Manipur, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is only the second Indian to win an Olympic medal in weightlifting. The last medal was won by Karnam Malleswari, who won a bronze at the Sydney games in 2000.
Mirabai was supposed to enroll in archery at age 12 when she stumbled upon weightlifting and fell in love. She would travel 20 km every day for the next four years to attend weightlifting classes in Imphal. Mirabai has two brothers and three sisters. Her parents had discovered her strength very early and have stated to the media how Mirabai could carry a heavy load of firewood at a young age when even her brothers could not. Mirabai often credits the trek up and down the hills with firewood on her head as the fodder for her strength and the reason behind her success.
What happened in Tokyo?
Zhihui Hou of China managed to lift a total of 210 kg to secure the gold medal. While Mirabai managed a highest lift of 87 kg in the snatch segment, her Chinese opponent could lift 94 kg in the same segment, creating a new world record. With a 7 kg gap before the clean and jerk segment, Hou managed to lift 116 kg and Mirabai lifted 115 kg, securing the silver medal for India.
What does the road to Olympic silver look like?
Mirabai's journey has been long and hard. Prior to Tokyo Olympics, she had had a disappointing and heartbreaking performance in the Rio Olympics in 2016. She also couldn't participate in the Asian Games due to an injury. However, this is not the first time that Chanu has created history. Just in April this year, she set the world record in Tashkent, Uzbekistan by lifting 119 kg in the clean and jerk segment at the Asian Championship.
How is she being felicitated?
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh stated that Mirabai Chanu would be given a state government job and also gave her a cheque of Rs 20 lakh. Prior to this, Mirabai also had been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and the very prestigious Padma Shri in 2018.
Immediately after the win, Mirabai announced to the media that she would love to eat some pizza. Domino's Pizza was quick to market it and announced lifetime free pizzas for Mirabai. On the other hand, Amul too dedicated a special doodle to mark the historic moment.