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Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu wins CWG gold

By lifting an aggregate of 201kg, Mirabai Chanu defended the 49kg title and won India's first gold of the 2022 Commonwealth Games 

Mirabai Chanu after a successful attempt during the women's 49kg weightlifting category match of the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. Image via PTI
Mirabai Chanu after a successful attempt during the women's 49kg weightlifting category match of the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. Image via PTI (PTI)

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Mirabai Chanu won the 49kg field as expected to defend her Commonwealth Games title and give India the first gold medal of the Birmingham edition on Saturday.

The Olympic silver medallist aggregated 201kg (88kg 113kg ) to stamp her authority in the competition and achieve a Commonwealth Games record in the process.

Also read: Why CWG city Birmingham should be on your travel bucket list

The silver went to Mauritius' Marie Hanitra Roilya Ranaivosoa (172kg) and bronze to Canada's Hannah Kaminski (171 kg).

In a remarkable performance, Chanu smashed the Commonwealth and CWG record in snatch. She obliterated the Games record in clean and jerk as well as total lift.

An overwhelming favourite in her weight category, the 27-year-old Chanu set a rather low starting weight of 80kg in snatch and 105kg in clean and jerk before changing her first attempt to 84kg.

Going into the competition, she had a personal best of 88kg and 119kg, a world record in clean and jerk, totalling 207kg.

Her nearest rival in the field, Stella Kingsley of Nigeria, came into the contest with a personal best of 168kg (72kg 96kg), summing up the gulf between her and the rest.

"I am happy with my performance. I had said earlier I was competing with myself here. Everyone knows Commonwealth Games is easy for me but I never take it lightly. There is pressure of having it easy as well. I know what areas to improve on going forward," she said with a beaming smile after the medal ceremony.

Also read: Lift it like Mirabai Chanu

Chanu matched her personal best in snatch, considered not the strongest part of her game, and she was pleased about that.

"I felt my technique in snatch is getting better. I came back from Tokyo Olympics knowing I needed to work on snatch and that would benefit me going forward. I still need to do more with my technique to touch 90kg," she said.

Her next big target will be the World Championships in December.

Asked how she would celebrate, Chanu said that would happen once she reaches India. For the night, she will finally get to gorge on a pizza without the fear of gaining weight.

"My target at World Championships is to match my record in clean and jerk (119kg)."

On the one sided nature of the contest and other lifters going for much lower weights, she said: "I look at what they are doing but my focus is on the six lifts I need to do."

The atmosphere at the NEC arena was electric, pushing the athletes to give their best with the music keeping the fans entertained.

As the MC also pointed out, with Chanu head and shoulders above others, the outing was more about competing with herself than her opponents.

Also read: Tokyo Olympics: Mirabai Chanu opens India's medals tally

Chanu's first attempt in snatch was comfortable before she lifted 88kg in the second before leaving 90kg for the third and final attempt. She was not able to record a new personal best but still went into the clean and jerk with a 12kg advantage over Ranaivosoa.

The clean and jerk began on a rather dramatic fashion with Bangladesh's Marija Akhter falling on the floor after a failed attempt for 70kg.

With her nearest rivals attempting 15kgs less than Chanu, the result was a foregone conclusion.

The battle for silver and bronze went down to the wire with Kingsley, Kaminski and Ranaivosa battling it out.

It was a heartbreaking end for the Nigerian lifter Kingsley whose 98kg attempt was declared a no lift following a premature celebration.

Chanu lifted 109kg comfortably in her first attempt before going for 113kg in the second.

She did not risk matching her world record of 119kg and went for 115 kg in her final lift, but missed. 

Also read: Commonwealth Games 2022: All set for Birmingham

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