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Having won silver at the World Championships, Mirabai is looking forward to lifting 90kg-plus in the near future

For Neeraj Chopra, the javelin’s trajectory is the most elusive 90 in Indian sport.

Despite getting silver at the Oregon Worlds, he always looks like he’s going to win gold when he crosses 90m. The other 90 – this one in kilograms – has proven tougher for another Olympian to nail down. Snatch, the best score for Mirabai Chanu is 88 kg.

But she wants to lose 90 pounds. In order to qualify for the Paris Olympics, the 49 kg weightlifter needs to get 90+ kg Snatch scores. Even with all the odds stacked against her.

Mirabai explains why the 90 kg mark has been eluding her since she won gold at the World Championships in 2017. The wrist has a cyst, so it hurts and performs poorly.

There has been a pain in my wrist for the past 2-3 months. The MRI revealed a cyst in which blood might have collected,” she explained. She suffers from weak thumb lining, which negatively impacts her ability to grip the barbell. In particular, when I receive and hold the weights during the snatch lift, too much weight comes on my wrist, builds pressure, and affects my ability to lift. She adds, “They found my ligaments to be weak, so strengthening has begun.”.

Her third and final Snatch lift resulted in her wobbling, somehow holding onto 87 kg. Despite the fact that it was my last attempt, I had to duck and hold. It is important to perform the last lift. It was important to me not to dip below 200 kilograms in total, so this was important,” she recalled.

The 90 kg lifting event proved challenging even on a perfectly healthy day at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where the gold was an easy target. In CWG, she came close to lifting the weight but was unable to do so. She has the best weight of 88 kilograms. My goal is to improve and obtain 90 kilograms or more in the future. I am confident that I can reach 91-92 kilograms,” she states.

It is true that Mirabai holds the record for Clean & Jerk, but the Snatch scores can really drag her down and put her in the backdoor. When she entered the C&J at the World Championship in Bogota, she was in fifth place, with the eventual Chinese champion lifting 93 kg as one of two athletes to reach 90 kilograms. Despite moving from 55kg to 49kg in seniors, even Belgian Nina Sterckx, the junior double record holder, was able to secure 89 kg. Having 87 kilograms, Mirabai starts out a few positions behind while others have a headstart, making the 90 kilograms all the more crucial.

In C&J, her target is 120 kilograms, which would bring her to 210 kilograms total if she can secure the 90 kilograms. The Indian won silver with 202 kg, while Hou Zhizhi hit a record score of 210 kg at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, the wrist – in pretty bad shape – requires intense strengthening, and it causes her pain even when she is not lifting weights. Even when I am not lifting (in my free time), I am bothered by it. She continues, “It can cause great pain.”.

In spite of this, a second World medal, and a silver one at that, makes her one of the most consistent Indian athletes in the world. Weightlifting is a difficult sport to medal at the World Championships. I missed the medal in 2020, but I am pleased with my second medal. This medal was important to me because I wanted to represent my country,” she explains. In addition to being India’s first-ever World Champion, the 2017 gold medal also served as a personal redemption.

The fact that she was flanked on the podium by the best Chinese competitors makes this one particularly special. The medal was good because I fought the Chinese for it. They are always competitive, and there are always two good ones (they won gold and bronze). Nevertheless, I have always believed that if they are able to accomplish it, I can as well. I will definitely beat the Chinese one day,” she declares.

Though Mirabai Chanu’s schedule for competitions has not yet been determined, what I find most refreshing about her is her zest for this elite level of competition and her ability to go head-to-head against the Chinese with Sindhusque confidence and relish. That is one of the reasons why she is eager to participate in face-offs at the Asian Championships and Asian Games. In addition to the 2023 World Championship, she will need to maintain consistency and steadiness ahead of the competition.

Keeping that drive alive can be challenging on both good and bad days. A hard training day can be challenging when the load feels too heavy. There are times when training doesn’t go well. I’m lucky to have a family and coach who support me, particularly on days when training has been difficult. My mother has told me that life cannot be perfect all the time and I should not take tension personally. When you’re tired, and you come back, you need someone to tell you it’s okay, even if it’s been a rough day.

Here’s how it went in Bogota:


1. Jiang Huihua (Chn) 93 kg
2. Mihaela Cambei (Rou) 90 kg
3. Hou Zhihui (Chn) 89 kg
4. Nina Sterckx (Bel) 89 kg
5. Mirabai Chanu (Ind) 87 kg
6. Jourdan Delacruz (USA) 86 kg

Clean & Jerk

1. Jiang Huihua (Chn) 113 kg
2. Mirabai Chanu (Ind) 113 kg
3. Hayley Reichardt (USA) 110 kg
4. Hou Zhihui (Chn) 109 kg
5. Jourdan Delacruz (USA) 105 kg
6. Natasha Figuerido (Brazil) 104 kg

1. Jiang Huihua (Chn) 206 kg
2. Mirabai Chanu (Ind) 200 kg
3. Hou Zhihui (Chn) 198 kg
4. Mihaela Cambei (Rou) 194 kg
5. Jourdan Delacruz (USA) 194 kg
6. Nina Sterckx (Bel) 193 kg

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