New Delhi: Mirabai Chanu on Thursday became the first Indian in over two decades to claim a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championship in Anaheim, USA, exorcising the ghosts of her forgettable outing at the Rio Olympics.
Chanu, who is employed with the Indian Railways, lifted 85kg in snatch and 109kg in clean and jerk to total an impressive 194kg in the women’s 48kg.
Seeing the tricolour from the podium, tears of joy rolled down her cheeks, as Chanu picked up a rare honour for an Indian at the marquee event.
The weightlifter from Manipur ended India’s 22-year-long wait for a World Championship gold by creating a new world record of 194-kg.
With the win, Chanu also became only the second Indian weightlifter ever to have won the gold medal in the World Championship. It was also India’s first gold in the tournament.
Olympic bronze medallist Karnam Malleshwari had won the top prize in worlds twice – in 1994 and 1995.
Chanu’s outing in Anaheim was very different from the way things panned out in Rio last year when she put up a disappointing performance as she could not get an overall total in women’s 48kg after failing to lift the weight in any of her three attempts in clean & jerk section.
In a field of 12 lifters at the Rio Games, she was one of two lifters who did not finish (DNF) her event.
Meanwhile, Chanu, who displayed a mediocre performance at the Rio Olympics, qualified for Commonwealth Games (2018) after winning a gold at the Commonwealth Senior (men and women) weightlifting championships held at Gold Coast, Australia.
En route to the victory, she also broke the Commonwealth record in snatch event by lifting 85-kg and bettered her own record by one kilogram.
Thailand’s Sukcharoen Thunya won the silver medal with a total lift of 193, while Segura Ana Iris bagged the brozne with 182kg.
Some of the world’s top weightlifting nations such as Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Azerbaijan could not take part in the competition due to issues related to doping.