It must have seemed a little strange to Mirabai Chanuleading the bodybuilding area with no one to challenge her. A scenario so different from the events of the Tokyo Olympics last year, when China’s Hou Zhihu lifted weights as if they were shopping bags, prompting our little girl from Manipur to come up with her own special in a take-off epic 49 kg. Then it won him a terrific silver medal, paving the way for a memorable Indian Olympic bonanza.
It was then July 24, 2021; it is now July 30. Today.
In Birmingham, you could say she was alone. Lifting 29 kg more than the Mauritian Marie Hanitra Ranaivosoa, second.
Mirabai lifted a total of 201kg – 88kg in the snatch and 113kg in the clean and jerk – to create a new CTM record as well as his personal record.
There was a banner in the stands which caused Hindi followers to burst into laughter at the National Exhibition Center in Solihull. “Mira tum ho India ka hira (Mira you are the diamond of India).” Truly, she is a diamond, and for sure, she is India’s lucky charm, the country’s talisman kicking off with a gold medal performance at the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Saturday.
Even before the Games, it was more or less a foregone conclusion who won the gold medal in the women’s 49 kg category. Mirabai was miles ahead of the competition. Before the CWG, she weighed 25 kg better than the second best in the competition. As the Indian tricolor rose amid the strains of the national anthem that filled the National Exhibition Centre, giving goosebumps to the Indians in attendance, Mirabai had done 29kg better than the silver medalist.
During the medal ceremony, Mirabai was smiling ear to ear. It was quite different from a year ago when we didn’t get to see her smile. The mask turned out to be a spoiler of the mood. There was no mask in Birmingham and we got to see his dazzling smile.
.@mirabai_chanu’s 🤩Mirabai’s 3rd consecutive 🏅 medal ceremony at the #CommonwealthGames makes our hearts swell with p… https://t.co/FCtvVTceXG
— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) 1659204753000
The exceptional @mirabai_chanu is once again the pride of India! Every Indian is delighted to have won a gold medal and is… https://t.co/E7TbgNEBS6
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1659201161000
Superd..First Gold #CWG2022 @mirabai_chanu https://t.co/dsw79EbNus
— MC Mary Kom OLY (@MangteC) 1659200112000
#TeamIndia’s first gold at the @birminghamcg22 Commonwealth Games comes in the women’s.co.co.uk.
— 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 wins first gold medal at #CommonwealthGames 2022Mirabai Chanu wins GOLD medal in Women’s 49kg Weightl… https://t.co/IAtXRbSsDD
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) 1659200617000
During the lifts too, she went about her business with a smile on her face. She knew she was her own competitor.
In all three snatch lifts, she attempted 84kg and pulled it off with ease. The best lift for silver medalist Marie Hanitra Ranaivosoa of Mauritius was 76kg, which she landed in her third.
Mirabai went to 88kg in her second lift. It wasn’t just about trying to break her own CWG snatch record (she lifted 86kg at Gold Coast 2018), but also setting a new personal best (previously it was 87kg).
She walked to the center and it was a piece of cake. The three judges ruled in the affirmative.
In the third lift snatch, she attempted 90 kg. It was his target before leaving for Birmingham. But, unfortunately, it was not to be this time.
The clean and jerk followed a similar pattern. She lifted 109 kg and 113 kg on her first two attempts, but could not complete the 115 kg lift on her third. While her personal best in the clean and jerk is 119kg, which is the world record, Mirabai had said ahead of the Games that she was looking to lift 120kg at the CWG. Bronze medalist Hannah Kaminski of Canada had the second best lift in the clean and jerk at 97 kg.