Ace Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu clinched a Silver and became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games in the women’s 49kg weightlifting event on Saturday. Mirabai began with two good lifts in the snatch before a brilliant first lift in the clean and jerk assured her of a Silver Medal. The Gold medal went to China's Hou Zhihui, who was just too good on the day. Mirabai finished with a total score of 202 kgs, 8 behind the Gold medallist.
This is the first time India have won a medal on the opening day of the Olympic Games. This was India's first weightlifting medal at the Olympic Games in more than 20 years, since Karnam Malleshwari in Sydney.
Absolutely amazing display of weightlifting.
The way you have transformed yourself after your injury and clinched a historic silver for #TeamIndia is absolutely stupendous.
You have made very proud. #Tokyo2020 #Olympics pic.twitter.com/pacYIgQ7LK
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 24, 2021
In the snatch, Mirabai’s first attempt was a successful 84 kg before she went for the 87kg and completed it with ease. However, her third attempt of 89 wasn’t a successful one. After the snatch event, Mirabai was in place for a Silver medal.
China's Hou Zhihui set an Olympic Record with a lift of 94kg in the snatch event after first breaking the record with a life of 92. Mirabai meanwhile holds the World Record for the clean and jerk event which she broke in April. Remember, in Rio, she failed in all 3 clean and jerk attempts.
Hou Zhihui’s first clean and jerk was a 109 kg attempt, which she lifted with absolute ease before Mirabai followed it up with a solid lift of 110kg, assuring her of a medal. Hou followed it up with an Olympic record lift of 114kg.
A determined Mirabai then smashed the Olympic record on the next left itself as she went for 115kg.
The Chinese lifter rounded off her final attempt with a powerful lift of 116kg but Mirabai’s final lift wasn’t successful and she finished with Silver.
— The Quint (@TheQuint) July 24, 2021
Aged just 12, Mirabai Chanu lifted heavy logs of wood which her elder brother couldn't - onlookers thought she had the strength to pursue weight lifting and thus began an incredible journey
Hopefully the story of this girl from Imphal would get a silver (or golden) lining today
— Aniket Mishra (@aniketmishra299) July 24, 2021
After a short break for the lifters they were back for the clean and jerk event where Mirabai needed a valid lift of 110 to all but ensure India would win their first medal at the Tokyo Games.
The Indian and Chinese weightlifters had to wait as the rest of the field based on entry weights went through their attempts and the emotional turmoil involved with that. Among them was a particularly distraught Belgium’s Nina Sterckx, 18 years old, who saw her attempt ruled out.
The American Jourdan Delacruz, one of the medal favourites, did not get the green light in her first lift of 108 before Windy Aisah upped the ante with a lift of 108, 5 kgs more than her opening lift. The American failed to get her second attempt going too and was under pressure as the final moved into the business end. Delacruz failed in all her attempts eventually, making the path to Silver for Mirabai easier.
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