Hyderabad: After Telugu athlete Karnam Malleswari earned India’s first ever Olympic medal in weightlifting in 2000 in Sydney Games, a lot was expected from the discipline. Everyone believed that Indians can win medals on the Olympic stage.
However, 20 years after Malleswari’s heroics, the country still awaits another medal from the Indian weightlifters. From the Sydney Games to last edition’s Rio Olympics, much has improved in terms of infrastructure, quality and the number of weightlifters doing well in the international arena. Despite all these, only Mirabai Chanu has made the cut for this edition’s quadrangular event.
The lifter from Manipur, however, is primed to end the medal drought for the country. Competing in the 49kg category, the lifter enters the fray with bright medal prospects. Mirabai, who had a disastrous Olympic debut in Rio after failing to lift on her three attempts in the clean and jerk and failed to advance, the 26-year-old has improved leaps and bounds. She made the cut at the second place in the rankings issued by International Weightlifting Federation, making her one of the favourites to finish on the podium. Though she was ranked 4th earlier, the lifters from North Korea withdrew from the competitions owing to the pandemic.
Mirabai is also in her prime form. She will be entering the games on the back of some good performances. She recently shattered the world record in clean and jerk on her way to win a bronze medal at the Asian Weightlifting Championships. She lifted 119kg in clean and jerk and 86kg in snatch for a total of 205 kg to set a new world record.
If all goes well, the 2017 World Championships and 2018 CWG gold medallist is sure to return with a medal.
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