On Thursday, Mirabai Chanu will renew her quest to lift a total that is more than four times her body weight. The 25-year-old weightlifter, who won a gold medal at the 2017 world championship, is aiming to lift a total of at least 200kg in her attempt to stay in medal contention not just in Pattaya, where the World Championship got underway on Wednesday, but remain in the hunt at for the Tokyo Olympics.
Chanu, who won the Commonwealth Games gold last year, spent the rest of 2018 nursing a lower back injury that kept her out of action for nearly nine months. After that, she had to jump from 48kg to 49 following the International Weightlifting Federation s (IWF) decision to rejig weight categories. Since her return, though, Chanu has logged personal bests at two of the three events that she has competed this year.
The 200kg-mark, though, has remained elusive. It is seen as a safe tally for a lifter to medal at the Olympics next year given only a handful of them have managed to achieve that feat. It has been Chanu s target for quite some time and she came agonisingly close to achieving it at the Asian Championships earlier this year before missing it by 1kg.
Chanu lifted a personal best of 199kg (86kg in snatch, 113kg in clean and jerk) at the continental championship but missed out on the podium by a whisker. China s Zhang Rong also had the same total of 199kg (88kg+111kg) but was ranked higher, owing to a better snatch score.
National coach Vijay Sharma has stressed on the need to improve Chanu s tally in snatch, where the barbell has to be lifted in one smooth motion. Chanu, he claims, has been regularly lifting more than 200kg in practice – around 203 and 204 – but the challenge will be to translate that form in competition.
At the last World Championships, all three podium finishers had lifted more than 200kg. Thai lifter Chayuttra Pramongkhol lifted 209kg (89+120) to clinch the gold and also set a world record. Pramongkhol has since been involved in a dope scandal and Thailand – a powerhouse in lightweight categories – have been suspended from competing internationally.
Even without them, the field is extremely strong. Last year s silver and bronze medallists – China s Hou Zhihui (who lifted 208kg) and Jiang Huihua (206kg) – will be favourites for gold. The Chinese duo has logged an entry weight of 210kg – 10 kg more than Chanu s 200kg.
While they seem to be out of reach for Chanu, she will hope to lift more than North Korea s Ri Song-gum, Asian silver medallist, and Beatriz Piron of the Dominican Republic, her closest challengers who have also set their minimum entry at 200kg.
Jhilli fails to record a lift
PTI adds: In a disappointing start to India s campaign, Jhilli Dalabehera failed to register a single lift in the snatch section of the women s 45kg event at the World Weightlifting Championships on Wednesday.
Competing in the non-Olympic category, the 20-year-old failed to lift 68kg in her three attempts in the snatch event, crashing out of the competition. In clean and jerk, Jhilli, an Asian Championship silver medallist, lifted 88 kg. She then unsuccessfully attempted to lift 92kg and 93 kg in her second and third try respectively. She ended with a total of 88kg (0kg+88kg).