Mirabai Chanu was among the weightlifters who made India proud on the opening day of the 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games (CWG), emerging on top in the women's 48kg event to claim the first gold medal of the event for her nation.
In a performance that saw her breaking multiple CWG records on Day 1 of the event being hosted at Gold Coast, Australia, Chanu finished with a total of 196 kg, which was far more than her nearest rivals — Mauritius' Marie Hanitra (170 kg) and Sri Lanka's Dinusha Gomes (155 kg).
However, her record-breaking feats on Thursday might never have happened had she decided to hang up her boots, which she nearly did after her disappointing show at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
In a performance that was in sync with India's disappointing run in the event overall, Chanu couldn't get an overall total in the women's 48kg event after failing in all three attempts in the clean and jerk section.
"Had trained hard for the Olympics, because it's my dream to win an Olympic medal. Despite all my hard work, I failed in the Olympics in all three attempts in clean and jerk. I was beginning to have doubts after that, and asked myself as to why I was encountering failures despite putting in so much effort," Chanu told Firstpost after winning gold at Gold Coast.
"While returning from Rio, I had fleeting thoughts of quitting the sport if I fail like this despite my hard work. My family members as well as close ones however, consoled me and told me to do otherwise. I also changed my technique after that, and I slowly started realising that I still have a long way to go. And that I will win medals across competitions if I work even harder. Which is why I decided to work harder," added the Manipuri weightlifter.
Chanu started off on a rousing note by breaking the existing Games record with a lift of 80 kg.
She went on to break the record another two times with successful attempts of 84 kg and 86 kg, the latter being her new personal best. That gave her a massive lead of 10 kilograms over second placed Marie at the end of the snatch session.
The Indian star started the clean and jerk session in similar fashion, lifting 103 kg in her first attempt to take the lead straightaway.
Another successful lift of 107 kg consolidated her position at the top. The Manipuri went on to post a new personal best with 110 kg in her third and final attempt to close off a dominating performance.
However, amidst her domination at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre in Gold Coast, Chanu did miss the presence of her physio, who was denied entry at the venue and couldn't be by her side as a result. According to the 23-year-old, the presence of support staff members such as the physio, masseur, etc are crucial for an athlete.
"My problem is that the physio wasn't there with me during the competition, something that I didn't like. Among the things most important for an athlete are physio, massager (masseur). If I had a physio by my side, I could've achieved a lot more. But my physio not being around is something that I don't like," said Chanu, who won gold in the World Weightlifting Championships in November last year.
Chanu was miles ahead of her competitors at the event on Thursday. She however, added that the presence of weightlifters from countries such as China and Thailand, neither of which are part of the British Commonwealth, does make things interesting for her.
"In the field of weightlifting, the competition is the toughest in Asia, the countries of which are among the top in this sport, countries such as China, Thailand, etc. Our fighters (rivals) are China and Thailand. If these two nations compete in the Asian Games, then it will be quite difficult for me," said Chanu, who added that she is setting her sights on winning a medal at the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta.
With inputs from IANS
Updated Date: Apr 06, 2018 09:54:28 IST