It must have felt slightly strange for Mirabai Chanu, bossing the weightlifting area with nobody to challenge her. Such a different scenario from the events of Tokyo Olympics last year, when the Chinese Hou Zhihu was lifting weights as if they were shopping bags, pushing our diminutive Manipur girl to come up with her own special in an epic 49-kg lift-off. Then it had got her a terrific silver, setting the stage for a memorable Indian Olympic medal windfall.
It was July 24, 2021 then; it is July 30 now. Today.
In Birmingham, you could say, she was on her own. Lifting a whopping 29 kg more than the second-placed Marie Hanitra Ranaivosoa of Mauritius.
Mirabai lifted a total of 201 kg – 88 kg in snatch and 113 kg in clean and jerk – to create a new CWG record as well as her own personal best.
There was a banner from the stands that made Hindi-following people present at the National Exhibition Centre in Solihull burst into laughter. “Mira tum ho India ka hira (Mira you are India’s diamond).” Truly she is a diamond, and for sure she is India’s lucky charm, the country’s talisman kick-starting things with a gold medal-winning performance at the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Saturday.
Even before the Games, it was more or less a foregone conclusion who was winning the gold medal in women’s 49kg category. Mirabai was miles ahead of the competition. Before the CWG, she was a whopping 25kg better than the second-best in the competition. As the Indian tricolor went up amid the strains of the National anthem that filled the National Exhibition Centre, giving goose bumps to the Indians present there,Mirabai had gone 29kg better than the silver medallist.
At the medal ceremony, Mirabai was smiling ear to ear. It was quite different from a year back when we didn’t get the opportunity to see her smile. The mask was proving to be a mood spoiler. There was no mask at Birmingham and we got to see that dazzling smile of hers.
.@mirabai_chanu’s medal ceremony 🤩Mirabai’s 3rd consecutive 🏅 at #CommonwealthGames makes our hearts swell with p… https://t.co/FCtvVTceXG
— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) 1659204753000
The exceptional @mirabai_chanu makes India proud once again! Every Indian is delighted that she’s won a Gold and se… https://t.co/E7TbgNEBS6
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1659201161000
Superd..First Gold #CWG2022 @mirabai_chanu https://t.co/dsw79EbNus
— M C Mary Kom OLY (@MangteC) 1659200112000
𝙂𝙊𝙇𝘿 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙈𝙞𝙧𝙖𝙗𝙖𝙞 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙪 🥇🇮🇳#TeamIndia’s first gold at the @birminghamcg22 Commonwealth Games comes in the women’s… https://t.co/ugtbaaObUe
— Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) 1659200216000
India’s first medal at #Tokyo2020 and now India’s first Gold Medal at @birminghamcg22. @mirabai_chanu continues to… https://t.co/rHhYXwpejX
— Deepa Malik PLY (@DeepaAthlete) 1659200308000
India strikes first Gold medal at the #CommonwealthGames 2022Mirabai Chanu wins GOLD Medal in 49kg Women’s Weightl… https://t.co/IAtXRbSsDD
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) 1659200617000
During the lifts too, she went about her job with a smile on her face. She knew she was her own competition.
In the three lifts of snatch, she attempted 84kg and pulled it off with ease. The best lift for silver medallist Marie Hanitra Ranaivosoa of Mauritius was 76kg, which she managed in her third.
Mirabai went for 88kg in her second lift. It was not only about attempting to break her own CWG record in the snatch (she had lifted 86kg at 2018 Gold Coast), but also set a new personal best (earlier it was 87kg).
She strode to the centre and it was a piece of cake. All three judges ruled in the affirmative.
In the third snatch lift, she attempted 90kg. It was her target before leaving for Birmingham. But, sadly it was not to be this time.
The clean and jerk followed a similar pattern. She lifted 109kg and 113kg in her first two attempts, but couldn’t complete the 115kg lift in her third. While her personal best in clean and jerk is 119kg, which is the world record, Mirabai had said before the Games that she was looking to lift 120kg at the CWG. Bronze medallist Hannah Kaminski of Canada had the second-best lift in clean and jerk with 97kg.
Watch Commonwealth Games 2022: Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu wins gold in 49 kg finals