Mirabai Chanu bossed the 49kg field as expected to defend her Commonwealth Games title and give India the first gold medal of the Birmingham edition here on Saturday. The Olympic silver medallist aggregated a total of 201kg (88kg + 113kg) to stamp her authority in the competition and achieve a Commonwealth Games record in the process.
The silver went to Mauritius’ Marie Hanitra Roilya Ranaivosoa (172kg) and bronze to Canada’s Hannah Kaminski (171 kg). In a remarkable performance, Chanu smashed the Commonwealth (Commonwealth Championships and CWG) and Games record in snatch. She obliterated the Games record in clean and jerk as well as total lift.
An overwhelming favourite in her weight category, the 27-year-old Chanu set a rather low starting weight for 80kg in snatch and 105 in clean and jerk before changing her first attempt to 84kg. Going into the competition, she had a personal best of 88kg and 119kg, a world record in clean and jerk, totalling 207kg.
Her nearest rival in the field, Stella Kingsley of Nigeria, came into the contest with a personal best of 168kg (72kg+96kg), summing up the gulf between her and the rest. The atmosphere at the NEC arena was electric, pushing the athletes to give their best with the music keeping the fans entertained.
As the MC also pointed out, with Chanu head and shoulders above others, the outing was more about competing with herself than her opponents. Chanu’s first attempt in snatch was comfortable before she lifted 88kg in the second before leaving 90kg for the third and final attempt. She was not able to record a new personal best but still went into the clean and jerk with a 12kg advantage over Ranaivosoa.
The clean and jerk began on a rather dramatic fashion with Bangladesh’s Marija Akhter falling on the floor after a failed attempt for 70kg. With her nearest rivals attempting 15kgs less than Chanu, the result was a foregone conclusion. The battle for silver and bronze went down to the wire with Kingsley, Kaminski and Ranaivosa battling it out.
It was a heartbreaking end for the Nigerian lifter Kingsley whose 98kg attempt was declared as a no lift following a premature celebration. Chanu lifted 109kg comfortably in her first attempt before going for 113kg in the second. She did not risk matching her world record of 119kg and went for 115 kg in her final lift, but missed.