Rio de Janeiro: Saikhom Mirabai Chanu will have an outside chance of a podium finish for India when the weightlifter begins her campaign in the women's 48kg category at the Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
Another Indian in fray — Sivalingam Sathish Kumar — will compete in men's 77kg division on 10 August.
Mirabai, who earned the right to compete at the Rio Games after topping the selection trials among Indian women competitors across all weight categories in June, had managed to match the bronze-medallist at 2012 London Olympics in women's 48kg category with a total lift of 192kg.
In the last one and a half months Mirabai is expected to have improved her lift by a couple of kilograms, and if she has managed to achieve it, she would have a good chance of finishing with a bronze medal in Rio.
Karnam Malleswari was the only Indian weightlifter to have won an Olympic medal when she bagged a bronze at the 2000 Sydney Games.
During the selection trials at Patiala, Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Mirabai created two new national records en-route grabbing the Olympic berth in the 48kg category.
She bettered her own record by 1kg in snatch, picking up 85kg, while she equalled the record of N Kunjarani Devi (107kg) in clean and jerk.
In the process, 21-year-old Mirabai broke Kunjarani's total record of 190kg with a combined lift of 192kg.
Kunjarani held the record of 190kg, which she had created during th 2004 Athens Olympics.
Earlier, in the Senior Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan Mirabai had put up a power-packed performance, smashing the national record in snatch with an effort of 84kg, also equalling the national record in overall lift with 190kg (106kg in clean &jerk) on way to a seventh-place finish.
Meanwhile, the lone Indian representative in the men's category, Sathish had earned the ticket for Rio with an overall lift of 336kg in 77kg weight division. He had lifted 151kg in snatch and 185kg in clean & jerk.
Sathish would have to perform out of his skin in order to win an Olympic medal in Rio.
First Published On : Aug 6, 2016 07:08 IST