What All You Need to Know About the Indian Olympic Silver Medalist Mirabai Chanu?

Mirabai Chanu made the country proud as she won a silver medal in Tokyo Olympics 2021. Here’s all you need to know about her.

It’s a dream for every athlete to win a medal in the most prestigious of sports events in the world, the Olympics, and Mirabai Chanu was no exception. After a year-long delay and a lot of speculation, the Tokyo Olympics were finally thrown open, and with it, India’s 21-year long wait for a medal in weightlifting came to an end. Cheers erupted among the Indian contingent and spectators back home when Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won a silver medal in the 49 kg weightlifting category. She lifted a total of 202 kg (87kg 115kg) in the event where China’s Hou Zhihui, who picked a combined weight of 210 kg (94kg 116kg) won the gold medal.

(Photo: PTI)

This was India’s second Olympic medal in the sport after Karnam Malleswari won a bronze back in the year 2000. Chanu became the first Indian weightlifter to win a silver medal in the Olympics and second overall after Malleswari. Also, after P. V. Sindhu, she is the second Indian woman athlete to bag a silver medal in the event.

Talking about her surreal win, she said, “It felt like it was a dream. I forgot where I was and the fact that I was standing on the Olympics podium. Everything blurred for a bit. I realized I had won the silver only when they called my name, and I felt the medal around my neck!” she said as quoted by The Hindu. Her bright smile won the hearts of spectators, a smile that her mask couldn’t even hide. “I am ecstatic! I am so happy to win the silver. I tried really hard for the gold, but I am happy with the silver. I failed in 2016 and learned a lot from that experience and where I have to improve, and that’s what got me here,” she added.

(Photo: AFP)

Chang also participated in the 2016 Olympics but unfortunately couldn’t register a win. However, she has several medals in her name from other major events. She won a gold in World Championships, Anaheim, USA, 2017 and Commonwealth Games 2018, Gold Coast, a silver in Tokyo Olympics, 2020 and Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, 2014. She finally won a bronze medal in the Asian championships, Tashkent, 2021. Owing to her terrific performance in the field, Chanu has also been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Padma Shri.

Chanu’s first coach was a former international weightlifter and coach, L. Anita Chanu. As a 12-year-old Mirabai Chanu used to lift heavy logs in her hometown, Nongpok Kakching. She was once noticed by Anita Chanu who told The Indian Express that “When I saw her lift for the first time, she had a killer instinct.” The former weightlifter was impressed by her “explosive strength” and took Chanu under her wing, and she trained at Khuman Lampak training center in Imphal.

(Photo: Luca Bruno/AP)

Before leaving for Tokyo, Mirabai was training under strength and conditioning coach Dr. Aaron Horschig at St. Louis, the USA, since May 1. She was also undergoing treatment for her recurring shoulder injury there. Her coach Vijay Sharma said that they chose to scale down the weight to reduce the load on her body. The strategy worked and helped her secure a silver medal.

Chanu dedicated her medal to the country and thanked billions of people who were rooting for her victory. Congratulatory messages gushed in after her win from The Prime Minister and eminent personalities from all over the world. She is an inspiration to several girls who wish to pursue a career in sports and bring laurels and make the nation proud as she did.

Indian women are making their mark every day in one field or the other. Earlier this year, ace boxer Mary Kom won her seventh medal in the Asian championship. Read this blog to know more about her win as she gears up for her performance in Tokyo. You can also check out our other blogs on the website.Join the Fuzia community today to connect with some like-minded individuals. Sign up here.

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