Monday, August 8, 2022

Mirabai Chanu defends 49kg title, gives India first gold of 2022 CWG

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

Lifter Sanket Sargar wins silver

Sanket Sargar

Partially fulfilling the promise he made to himself four years back, young weightlifter Sanket Sargar won a silver medal in men’s 55kg category, putting India on the medal tally at the Commonwealth Games here Saturday.
He targetted a gold medal but injured his right elbow while attempting to lift 139kg in clean and jerk to eventually settle for a second place. The 21-year-old managed a total of 248kg (113kg+135kg) to finish just one kilogram behind Malaysia’s Mohamad Aniq, who smashed the Games record in clean and jerk as he lifted 249kg (107kg+142kg) to win the gold. Sri Lanka’s Dilanka Isuru Kumara 225kg (105kg+120kg) took home the bronze. Someone who was managing a paan shop with his father in Sangli, Maharshtra it indeed is a feat to cherish. Life has thrown challenges at him and he accepted them with grace and found a way to overcome them with sheer dedication.
Sargar said he had to take the risk of lifting 139kg as a “gold was on offer”.

Weightlifter Gururaja wins bronze

Gururaja Poojary

For over a year, weightlifter Gururaja Poojary did not go to his home in Udupi district in Karnataka, instead deciding to stay at the national camp in Patiala, preparing for his entry into a new weight division, shifting to an Olympic weight category for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
The 27-year-old Junior Warrant Officer (JWO) in India Air Force had got married in May 2021 but decided to leave his wife with his parents in Karnataka so that he can concentrate on his career.
All those sacrifices paid dividends as Gururaja on Saturday captured a bronze medal in the men’s 61kg weight division at the Commonwealth Games 2022, the first medal in this weight class according to him.
The Karnataka lifter made it a productive morning session for India at the weightlifting arena in Birmingham, winning the country’s second medal of the day at the Commonwealth Games here on Saturday.


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