Mirabai Chanu to compete in new weight category

Mirabai Chanu
Mirabai Chanu

In a bid to maximise India’s chances of winning more gold medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will compete in a new weight class.

Head coach Vijay Sharma and the Indian Weightlifting Federation feel the 27-year-old Manipuri has a better chance of winning the gold medal in the 55kg category at the 2022 CWG than compatriot Sorokhaibam Bindyarani Devi, who won silver at the Commonwealth Championships in December last.

Mirabai 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, she 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.

“We (coach and federation) had a meeting and discussed that India should bring back medals on all the women’s weight categories in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. 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 there,” Mirabai Chanu was quoted as saying by PTI.

India still have a gold medal contender in the 49kg in Jhilli Dalabehera who won a silver in the Commonwealth Championships.

Mirabai Chanu should be a sure-shot gold medal winner in 49kg but now she will have to work hard to win 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 of 207kg (88kg+119kg).

With the Asian Games scheduled to begin just a month after the Birmingham CWG (July 28 to August 8), the diminutive Manipuri is not yet sure if she will switch back to the 49kg class or continue in 55kg in the continental event.

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