Bogota (Colombia), Dec 7 (PTI): Star Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu endured wrist pain to grab a silver medal at the World Championships and in the process beat Tokyo Olympics champion Hou Zhihua, here.
The Tokyo Olympic silver medallist, competing in the 49kg category, managed to lift 87kg in snatch and in 113kg in ‘clean and jerk’ for an overall effort of 200kg here on Tuesday night.
The Indian finished behind China’s Jiang Huihua, who won the gold with a total effort of 206kg (93kg+113kg) while her compatriot Zhihua took home the bronze medal with a total lift of 198kg (89kg+109kg).
It is Manipuri lifter’s second medal at the World Championships, having won a gold in 2017.
“It’s an emotionally proud moment for me to bring another world championship medal back home after five long years. The competition at the world championship is always intense with the best Olympian competing to at the highest level,” said Mirabai after winning the medal.
“I had a wrist pain but I am always ready to push myself to cross the line for my country….I hope I’ll be able to give India more of such moments preferably a Gold at the Asian Games and Paris Olympics as well,” she added.
Chanu, who hurt her wrist during a training session in September, had competed in the National Games with the injury in October.
“We couldn’t do much (about the injury) because we didn’t want to skip the World Championships. Now, we will focus on her wrist because we have a lot of time before the next event,” India’s head coach Vijay Sharma told PTI.
“We were not taking any pressure for this event. This is the weight Mira lifts regularly. From now we will start increasing the weights and improving.
“Seeing Mira I believe we are on the right track and she is definitely going to only work harder to bring out her A- game in the upcoming Asian Games and the Olympics.”
While the 11-lifter field was highly competitive, most lifters refrained from stretching themselves. Zhihua even skipped her final clean and jerk attempt to settle for bronze.
Competing in her first international tournament since winning a gold at the Commonwealth Games, Chanu had an underwhelming snatch session. She started with an 84kg lift but her second attempt of 87kg was deemed a no lift.
Expectedly, Chanu didn’t go for the much-awaited 90kg lift.
In her final attempt, the 28-year-old, who had her wrist bandaged, wobbled a little but was able to hoist the 87kg barbell, which is a kilogram less than her personal best in the section.
Fifth after the snatch section, Chanu set the highest clean and jerk entry weight but her first attempt of 111kg was deemed a no lift as her left elbow wobbled a little.
The Indian camp challenged the decision but the judges upheld it.
However, Chanu, the world record holder in the category, succeeded in her final two attempts of 111kg and 113 kg to collect the overall and clean and jerk silver. He also took silver in snatch category.
Medals are awarded separately for snatch, clean and jerk, and total lift in continental and World Championships. But, just one medal for total lift is awarded in the Olympics.
India have four more lifters in the fray. S Bindiyrani Devi (59kg), Chanambam Rishikanta Singh (61kg), Achinta Sheuli (73kg) and Gurdeep Singh (+109kg) will compete in their respective categories.
The 2022 World Championship is the first qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics, where weightlifting events will be cut from 14 at Tokyo Games to 10.
However, it is an additional event and not a compulsory one.
Under the 2024 Olympic qualification rule, a lifter has to compulsorily compete in the 2023 World Championships and the 2024 World Cup.
Apart from the above, the lifter also has to participate in three of the following events — the 2022 World Championships, the 2023 Continental Championships, the 2023 Grand Prix 1, the 2023 Grand Prix II and the 2024 Continental Championships.
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) will publish the Olympic Qualification Rating (OQR) of each weight category at the end of the qualification period.
A weightlifter’s best three performances at the qualifying events will be taken into account for final assessment.