Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, is a top contender to clinch the top prize in women’s 48kg category at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast next month.
In the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, she won a silver Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
She lifted a total of 170 kg (75kg in snatch and 95 kg in clean and jerk) in Glasgow but three years later, she had a total lift of 194 kg (85+109) to win the gold in the World Championship in USA in November, becoming only the second Indian weightlifter to achieve the feat.
Before the World Championships, she had also won the Commonwealth Championships gold in Australia in July last year with a total lift of 189 kg (85+104).
“The competition in CWG is less as compared to Asian Games or World Championships, so it will be a bit easy in Gold Coast. I can say I will win the gold. It should not be difficult for me to do that,” said Mirabai from Australia. She is currently training at In2Performance Centre at Victoria Noble Park in Melbourne, an elite training centre. All the 16 Indian weightlifters who are taking part in the CWG are training here since March 9. They will leave for Gold Coast on April 1.
The CWG record in this weight category is 175 kg (77+98), by Augustina Nwaokolo of Nigeria, which she achieved while winning gold in 2010 Delhi Games. A look at Mirabai’s opponents in 48kg in Gold Coast, provided by Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation, shows that all the competitors except Mirabai has a personal best of below 180kg. Mirabai’s likely closest rival will be Amanda Braddock of Canada who has a personal best of 173 kg.
“None of the other competitors has a total lift near 180 kg. I am not taking it easy but at the same time I will not exert too much also. I will try to lift 190kg or near about but will not try to go past say 195 kg or near 200 kg,” she said.
“I don’t want to get injured as there is Asian Game later this year. My main aim this year is to win gold in Asian Games with a top class performance. Many of the top lifters in the world will compete in Asian Games and I want to win gold there and keep myself improving till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” she said, reports NT.
Her event will be on April 5, the first day of competitions, and if she wins a gold, that could be the first one for India in this CWG. Head coach Vijay Sharma said that a gold from Mirabai is more or less assured as she is head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
The challenge will be to reach 200 kg and being consistent if she wants to win at least a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. India has been the dominant force in this 48kg weight category since women’s weightlifting was included in 2002 Manchester Games. The legendary N Kunjarani won two back-to-back gold in this category in 2002 and 2006 Games but India missed out on a gold in 2010 at home.
“My goal is to win a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. That is the dream I am living with and for which I will do anything under the sun,” she signed off.