“Saikhom Mirabai Chanu” is a name that is set to be recited throughout the next decade as an inspiration for many young minds…A name that has made India proud of its daughters… A name that throws shade on the Indian patriarchal society!! This lady from Manipur is more than a beacon light for all the Olympic Aspirants. But how did all of this happen? Here’s a quick look.
Early life and Family: –
Coming in from a humble background from Manipur, Mira’s story is similar to that of a bubbly, chirpy young Indian girl. Her family, however, was very supportive of Chanu taking up the sport of weightlifting. When Mira used to pick up big bundles of firewood sticks with at most proficiency, that’s when her parents realized that this juvenile has a hidden talent. A talent that was later going to become the nation’s pride. From picking firewood in Nangpok to winning bright silver in Tokyo Mira has come a long way!!!
Commonwealth and Asian Games Glory: –
A regular feature in the 48kg/49kg categories since the 2014 Commonwealth Games Mirabai always set her eyes on the prize. She was on a roll since 2014 itself winning Silver in 2014, Gold in the 2017 World Championships, 2018 Gold at Commonwealth, and Bronze at 2020 Asian Championships. For Mirabai, the Snatch has always been a little more tedious than the Clean and Jerk. However, her Clean and Jerk is so good that it comprehensively compensates for the drawbacks in her Snatch.
Rio Failure and Tokyo Glory: –
2016 Rio Olympics did not turn out as fruitful for Mira as she wanted them to be. But we also need to consider that back in the day Mira was an inexperienced newbie. In 2016 of the six chances, three Snatch and three Clean and Jerk Mira was successful only twice to pick the weight up. It was disheartening to witness as an Indian fan. Despite this disappointment, 2020 was a new ball game altogether. Mira was now an experienced veteran. She in fact held the World Record for the Clean and Jerk before the Tokyo Event.
So, now comes Tokyo 2020, the moment that Mira awaited for 5 years. The moment that was going to make her name immortal. It began with her lifting 87kg in the Snatch and her attempts ended with her registering 115kg in the Clean and Jerk. A total of 202kg. This was just behind her Chinese opponent who lifted 94kg in Snatch and 116kg in Clean and Jerk. This was Mira’s moment of glory. Her family along with billions of India’s watched Mira stand on the podium with pride while receiving her Silver.
In inference, I would say that “Inspiration is magical”. When someone like Karnam Malleswari inspires Mira only then accolades and laurels are showered. Mira’s story unknowingly began with Malleswari winning the Bronze. And finally, as Danny Morrison would quote, “Mira….you beauty!!!!!”