When Mirabai Chanu won silver in the women’s 49kg weightlifting event on Saturday, she made history by becoming India’s first medalist in the Tokyo Olympics. Chanu therefore becomes the second Indian female weightlifter to win an Olympic medal, following Karnam Malleswari.
Malleswari had earned a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, making her the first Indian woman to do so at the quadrennial tournament.
Chanu, 26, was already a medal contender for India in the Tokyo Olympics, which began on Friday after a one-year hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Indian had a string of strong results leading up to the competition, including a new world record in the clean and jerk round.
Chanu won silver with a total lift of 202 kg, including 87 kg in the snatch and 115 kg in the clean and jerk.
She lifted 84 kg and 87 kg in her first two attempts in the snatch category, but fell short of her goal of 89 kg in the final.
Following that, there was a similar storey. She lifted 110 kg and 115 kg in the clean and jerk section in her first two attempts.
China’s Hou Zhihui won the gold medal by lifting a total of 210 kg, a new Olympic record. Windy Cantika Aisah of Indonesia, on the other hand, won silver with a total lift of 194 kg.
Chanu is only the sixth Indian female athlete to win an individual Olympic medal. Malleswari, Saina Nehwal (Women’s singles badminton bronze, London Olympics 2012), MC Mary Kom (Women’s boxing bronze, London Olympics 2012), PV Sindhu (Women’s singles badminton silver, Rio 2016), and Sakshi Malik (Wrestling bronze, Rio 2016) are the only women to have done it before her.