Happy Birthday Mirabai Chanu: A look at weightlifter's journey to Tokyo Olympics silver - In pics

Mirabai who gifted India its first medal at Tokyo Olympics turned 27 on Sunday. She is the second weightlifter from the country to clinch an Olympic medal.

 

Happy Birthday Mirabai Chanu

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Happy Birthday Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu gave India its first medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and ended a two-decade-long drought in Indian weightlifting -- a time in which the sport was tarnished by several doping scandals.

 

Born in Manipur in 1994, the weightlifter turned 28 on Sunday.

Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

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Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai finished second behind China's Hou Zihui (210kg -- 94 snatch & 116 clean & jerk) with a total of 202kg (87 in snatch and 115 in clean and jerk) to win the silver medal at Tokyo.

After winning the medal, the weightlifter said that this is a dream come true and also thanked the entire country for praying for her victory.

Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

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Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

In 2017, she became the first Indian after Karnam Malleswari (1994) to win a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championships. In 2018, she won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. In April 2021, she set a world record in clean & jerk at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent.

Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

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Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

After struggling with her shoulder and back injuries, Chanu, in 2019, went to the United States for a lengthy rehabilitation-cum-training camp under renowned strength and conditioning coach Dr. Aaron Horschig. Just before the Olympics, she had again flown to the United States to spend two weeks at Dr. Horschig's academy as the injures had surfaced again and were troubling her.

Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

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Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

An employee of the Indian Railways, Mirabai's entry into weightlifting was accidental. At the age of 12, she had gone to the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Manipur's capital Imphal to gone to enrol herself in archery.

 

The archery centre was closed and Mirabai stepped into the nearby weightlifting arena to enquire about archery. Instead, she got hooked to the sport for life as the weights and weightlifting apparatus attracted her attention. As she had built her strength lugging firewood up and down the hills, weightlifting came easily to Mirabai.

Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

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Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai first breakthrough came at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games when she won the silver medal in the 48 kg weight category. She then went onto win the gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championships held in Anaheim, United States in 2017.

 

In 2018, Chanu went on to break the games record en route to the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast.

 

In 2020, she clinched a bronze medal in Tashkent Asian Championships (49 kg).

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