Taekwondo’s loss, Weightlifting’s gain: Bindyarani clinches 55kg silver in Birmingham

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Bindyarani Devi Sorokhaibam wanted to be a ‘taekwondoin’ (who practises taekwondo) when she started her sporting career. But given her short stature, the taekwondo coach instead asked her to pursue weightlifting. He even helped her meet the SAI’s weightlifting coach Aheibam Ranjan Singh. 

The decision turned out to be a masterstroke as Bindyarani, who too hails from Manipur, was soon dubbed ‘Mirabai 2.0’ given her exploits on the weightlifting platform. The 23-year-old lifter added yet another feather to her cap when she won a silver medal at the ongoing Commonwealth Games with a total lift of 202kg (86kg in snatch and 116kg in clean & jerk) in Birmingham on Saturday. Her podium finish meant Indian lifters bagged four medals from as many events on day one of the weightlifting competitions at the NEC Hall 1 on Saturday.

“She wanted to be a taekwondo player but failed to impress the coach because of her short stature as height plays a crucial role in any combat sport,” Ranjan, Bindyarani’s childhood coach, told this daily. “The taekwondo coach brought her to me because he believed her short height could be a blessing in disguise in weightlifting,” added the coach.

Before the Birmingham CWG, Bindyarani’s biggest win had come last year when she clinched clean and jerk (114kg) gold at the World Championships. Along with the yellow metal, Bindyarani also took home the silver at the Commonwealth Championships 2021, which was held concurrently with the Worlds.

Games record

Bindyarani was lying third with the best lift of 86kg in her third attempt after the snatch event with Nigeria’s Adijat Adenike Olarinoye (92kg) and England’s Fraer Morrow (89kg) placed first and second respectively. 

In her bid to narrow down the gap, she lifted 110kg in her first attempt in the clean and jerk section. On the contrary, Morrow failed to lift 109kg giving Bindyarani an opening, who tried to lift 114kg in the second attempt but couldn’t succeed. Morrow then lifted 109kg and went for 115kg in her last attempt to seal the silver but to no avail. 

Bindyarani, on the other hand, lifted 116kg in her last attempt to not only finish second but also set the Games record in the 55kg clean and jerk event. With the lift, she also bettered her national record of 115kg set last month at the 1st National Ranking Tournament. 

Adijat finished on the top of the podium with a total lift of 203kg (92kg in snatch and 111kg in clean & jerk), only 1kg more than Bindyarani.

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