New Delhi: Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will compete in a new weight class – 55kg – at at the Commonwealth Games. Mirabai Chanu has taken this decision to help maximise India’s chances of winning more gold medals in the multi-sport event in Birmingham later this year.
Chanu has achieved a lot of success competing in the 49kg weight division, including winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She also holds the clean and jerk world record in this weight class. Before that Chanu used to compete in the 48kg class, winning the World Championship gold in 2017. She also won 48kg silver and gold in the 2014 and 2018 CWG respectively.
However, head coach Vijay Sharma and the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) feel the 27-year-old has a better chance of winning the gold in the 55kg category at the 2022 CWG than compatriot Sorokhaibam Bindyarani Devi, who won a silver at the Commonwealth Championships in December last.
“We (coach and federation) had a meeting and discussed that India should win medals in all the women’s weight categories in the 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Chanu said Tuesday.
“There is a chance of getting 4-5 gold medals and that’s why we decided that I’ll move up to 55kg. So, we can win one in that category,” Chanu, who is already a two-time CWG medallist, added.
India still have a gold medal contender in the 49kg in Jhilli Dalabehera who won a silver in the Commonwealth Championships.
Chanu should be a sure-shot gold medal winner in 49kg. However, now she will have to work hard to win a gold in 55kg.
“I’ll have to work really hard, I’ll have to increase the weight (I lift) because it will be competitive (in 55kg). I won’t increase my weight, I’ll keep it as 50kg-51kg which is my natural weight,” said Chanu, who has a personal best lift of of 207kg (88kg+119kg).
The Asian Games are scheduled to begin just a month after the Birmingham CWG (July 28 to August 8). However, the diminutive Manipuri is not sure if she will switch back to the 49kg class or continue in 55kg in the continental event.
“I haven’t decided which weight category I’ll compete in the Asian Games. I will decide that after CWG. If all goes well I might continue in 55kg,” informed Chanu.