Mirabai Chanu: ‘I have been dreaming of this for the past five years’

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This is India’s first silver in weightlifting. India’s only previous medal in weightlifting was a bronze by Karnam Malleswari.

“I have been dreaming of this for the past five years,” said Mirabai Chanu after winning India’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics.  She won silver in the women’s 49 kg event on July 24. This is India’s first silver in weightlifting at the Olympics.

“I am so happy, I won silver. I tried very hard for gold. But the target to accomplish got a little hard in clean and jerk. I tried to better the Olympic record, but it didn’t happen. I am very happy nevertheless,” said Mirabai after her event.

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“I was nervous because the entire country was watching, but I came in thinking I need to give it my best and try and get a medal.”

Mirabai lifted a total of 202 kg and broke the previous Olympic record in the category. India’s only previous medal in weightlifting was won by Karnam Malleswari, a bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

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At Rio 2016, Mirabai had fallen short. She failed in her first two lifts in snatch and just about made her third attempt. In the clean and jerk, Mirabai did not have a single clean lift. “I learnt a lot from Rio 2016. I learnt what I need to do, where I need to improve, and I am here because of that failure in Rio. I was very sad, but here we are,” she said.

“I am very happy to win the first medal for India at these Games. I don’t just belong to Manipur, I belong to the whole country,” she added in response to a query on what it meant for her as a Manipuri.

(With inputs from PTI)

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