Tokyo: Former world champion Mirabai Chanu will be in focus for her high medal-winning chances at the Tokyo Olympics here as the Indian hopes to exorcise the ghosts of a disappointing Rio Games and write a new chapter in the country’s weightlifting history.
Competing in the 49kg category, Chanu is being considered a sure shot medal prospect for India as her personal best of 205kg is only second to China’s Hou Zhihui’s effort of 213kg in the eight-woman field.
The hype is similar to the one five years ago in Rio, where Chanu could manage only one lift from her six attempts and thus could not get an overall total in women’s 48kg event. The diminutive Manipuri will desperately hope for a different script this time round, one that involves a podium.
Karnam Malleswari is the only Indian weightlifter who has an Olympic medal to her credit, a bronze in the 69kg category at the 2000 Sydney Games when the weightlifting arena was opened to women for the first time.
Post the Rio Games, Chanu has proved her mettle as a fighter and serious contender. She has won medals in almost all marquee events, including gold in the world championship and the Commonwealth Games, and a bronze in the Asian championship.
The coveted Olympic medal will be the cherry on top.