Mirabai Chanu beats Chinese to aim for 90kg snatch

In December, weightlifter Mirabai Chanu marked a turning point in her illustrious career when she won her second World Championships medal despite a left wrist injury. The silver won in Bogotá was the first instance of Chanu defeating a Chinese lifter in competition. The 49kg silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics has set her sights on breaking the 90kg mark in snatch at the Asian Championships starting in Jinju, South Korea on Wednesday.

India’s Mirabai Chanu with the gold medal in the women’s 49kg weightlifting category match at the Commonwealth Games 2022 (PTI)

Chanu last participated in the continental championships in 2020 when she won the bronze medal behind China’s Hou Zhihui and Jiang Huihua in Tashkent. Hou won Olympic gold, while Jiang won her third World Championships gold in Bogotá in December, where Chanu pushed Hou into third place. The Jinju meet is the Paris Olympic qualifier and this three-way contest becomes one of the most exciting stories to follow in the sport.

“Lifting 90kg in snatch is definitely a target. Over the last few years, I have come close to it and if it happens in the Asian Championships, it would be great.” Chanu said.

Chanu’s career-best snatch is 88kg, which she has achieved twice – at the National Championships in Kolkata in 2020 and at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games last year. His best result in clean and jerk is a world record lift of 119 kg at the 2020 Asian Championships.

“My target would be to lift a total of 200kg. That would put me in medal position. Ideally, I want to lift 90kg in snatch and break my world record in clean and jerk.

“The 90kg barrier has been troubling me for a while and I would like to clear it. But in a sport like weightlifting, a lot depends on how your body is behaving that day.”

And Chanu’s body is in perennial repair mode. In the five months since her last competition, Chanu has been in rehabilitation for persistent left wrist and left shoulder injuries.

“The problem is with my left shoulder. It’s weaker than my right shoulder and my left wrist has to work harder to compensate. That’s what hurts the wrist,” he said, referring to his injury at Worlds. said while doing

Dr. Aaron Horshig, a US-based weightlifter turned strength-and-conditioning specialist, has been at the center of Chanu’s injury rehabilitation. Several virtual sessions took place between the two in the last few months. In February, a student of Horshig arrived at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala to continuously monitor Chanu’s rehabilitation.

“There is always something aching in a weightlifter’s body, but Dr. Horshig has helped me unlock my true potential. He was instrumental in my success in the Olympics when he cured the pain in my left shoulder and right corner of my back. He relies on exercise for pain relief, which I love,” the 28-year-old explained.

Even with a perfectly fit body, lifting 90 kg is not guaranteed.

“It’s because everyone’s body is different and technique is different. People may think that if I can lift 88kg, I can lift 90kg too, but 1kg makes a lot of difference in our sport.” Olympic medals are won or lost by one kg. The current snatch world record – 96kg – was set by Hu in April, 2021 at the Tashkent Asian Meet.

Beating the Chinese was never a mental hurdle, but it has given Chanu a lot of confidence going into the championships. “I always knew they could be beaten, but you really don’t believe until it’s done. For me, the focus will be more on completing our goals than the Chinese.”

“There are no guarantees in this sport. Just because I did well last time, doesn’t mean I can repeat it. The best way to approach a competition is to think about what you want to achieve.” Snatching 90kg is definitely a goal for me. I have worked on my speed and endurance. I lift 80-85% of my potential in training each day, which means I can perform well for competition. God willing, the 90 kg box will be completed soon.

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