Star Indian lifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu qualified for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the 55kg weight category on Friday by clinching the gold in the Singapore Weightlifting International 2022. (More Sports News)
Competing in the 55kg weight class for the first time, Chanu lifted 191kg (86kg+105kg) to stand on top of the podium in an uncompetitive field.
The second-placed lifter – Australia's Jessica Sewastenko's best effort was 167kg (77kg+90kg), a whopping 24kg less than Chanu's. Elly Cassandra Englebert of Malaysia finished third with a best effort of 165kg (75kg+90kg).
The other three Indian lifters competing on day one of the event – Sanket Sagar (55kg), Rishikanta Singh (55kg) and Bindyarani Devi (59kg) – also sealed Commonwealth Games berths.
Having pulled out of the World Championships in December, this was Chanu's first competitive event since the historic Tokyo Games performance last July, when she bagged India's first silver medal in weightlifting at the Olympics.
“7 months of intense training and my never-ending love for the sport continues to pay off as I qualify for the @CWG2022 in the 55kg and 49kg category,” Chanu said after the win.
“I would like to extend my thanks to our Ministry of Youth and Affairs, Weightlifting Federation of India, SAI and all the other stakeholders who have helped me reach here,” she added.
Chanu had pulled out of the world championship to work on a new snatch technique and head coach Vijay Sharma was delighted to see the progress the Manipuri has made in the section, which was once considered her weakness.
She comfortably lifted 81kg, 84kg and 86kg in her three snatch attempts here. “We had been working on her snatch technique. And I am happy with the results, she has shown good progress in snatch these past seven months,” Sharma said.
The 27-year-old Chanu has also qualified for the CWG in the 49kg weight category on the basis of her Commonwealth rankings. However, to maximise India's chances of winning more golds at the CWG, it is expected that Chanu will compete in the new 55kg weight division.
Sagar created new Commonwealth and national records in clean and jerk and total lift on his way to gold in the men's 55kg event. He lifted 256kg (113kg +143kg), edging out compatriot silver medallist Rishikanta, who had a best effort of 246kg (110kg+136kg).
Sri Lanka’s Dilanka Isuru Kumara took home the bronze in the event as he heaved 238kg (106kg+132kg). Commonwealth Championships silver medallist Bindyarani bagged India’s third gold of the day.
Bindyarani lifted 196kg (85kg+111kg) in the women’s 59kg competition to win the yellow metal in the five lifter-field. Australians Brenna Kean 190kg (82kg+108kg) and Tori Gallegos 183kg (80kg+103kg) won the silver and bronze medals respectively.
Bindyarani had competed in the 55kg weight division in the Commonwealth Championships in December. The Singapore Weightlifting International is a qualifying event for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The top eight lifters in each weight category in the ongoing tournament will directly qualify for the 2022 CWG.