Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu
Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai determined to remain injury-free ahead of Olympics

Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu feels her success at the Paris Games will hinge on her ability to remain injury-free, especially as she strives to breach the elusive 90kg mark in the snatch event of the quadrennial extravaganza.

New Delhi | Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu feels her success at the Paris Games will hinge on her ability to remain injury-free, especially as she strives to breach the elusive 90kg mark in the snatch event of the quadrennial extravaganza.

The focus until her competition on August 7 will be on "managing all the muscles" and "improving technique to lift at least 90kg in snatch", said the Manipuri who competes in the 49kg weight class.

"For me, injury management and staying stress free will be important. I have to do the things that helped me recover," Chanu told SAI Media.

"Injuries and pain are companions for us. You never know when they will strike. We have to conquer them and Paris Olympics will tell me how well I have managed these aspects of the sport." Chanu, who has a personal best of 88kg in snatch and 119kg in clean and jerk, is no stranger to injuries and has struggled with a persistent back problem.

More recently, she suffered from hip tendonitis at the Asian Games in September-October last year, which sidelined her for five months.

She returned to competitive action at the IWF World Cup in April, finishing 12th with a total effort of 184kg (81kg+103kg), a whopping 33kg behind China's Hou Zhihui, who will look to defend her Olympic title.

"After the Asian Games injury, the World Cup was my first competition. I was certainly apprehensive about picking up another injury. I didn't want to spoil my Paris chances. So, yes, that injury fear was there." Chanu and her team will be off to Le Ferte-Milon in France in the first week of July and will have almost a month to acclimatise ahead of the Olympics.

The star weightlifter, for whom the sports ministry, through the Target Olympic Podium Scheme and other athlete funding programmes, has spent over Rs 2.7 crores for her training in the Paris cycle, laments for not having an Asian Games medal in her cabinet.

"An Asian Games medal seems to be jinxed, I definitely want to win one and I was just one lift away from getting one in Hangzhou when the injury ocurred.

"Even after so much preparation, I got injured. That hurts for sure but at the same time, injuries make me determined to come back stronger for India. So never had negative thoughts to quit.

"For any weightlifter to take part in two Olympics is a big thing. To compete at the world level is tough. It will be a dream for me and my family to win a second Olympic medal but I also know that even the best of preparation can fail,” she added.