The girl who made us all proud: Mirabai Chanu

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Mirabai Chahu was born on 8th August, 1994 in Imphal, Manipur. Since her childhood, she had shown great potential in weightlifting and it didn’t go unnoticed by her father. She would easily lift heavy bundles of wood during her childhood that her elder brother would be unable to lift.Her 1st major breakthrough came at the age of 20, at the Glasgow edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2014, where she won the silver medal in the 48 kg weight category. After that, she had been unstoppable. But, life is not a bed of roses. Chanu qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics in the women’s 48 kg category. But, she failed to finish the event due to three unsuccessful attempts at the clean and jerk section. This earned her a lot of defamation and resulted in professional trauma for her. But, that didn’t break her determination and she kept going.She started working harder and harder until in the 2017 World Weightlifting championship held in the US, she earned her very first international gold medal. Chanu lifted a total of 196 kg, 86 kg in Snatch, and 110 kg in Clean and Jerk to win the first gold medal for India in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Through that medal, she broke the game’s record for the weight category and marked it as her personal best performance and all this happened because of her rock-hard determination and the capability to work hard. She again broke her own record by lifting a total of 199 kg in the 2019 Asian Weightlifting Championship. Unfortunately, she missed the bronze medal.Fast forward to 2021. In April 2021, she won the bronze medal at the 2020 Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, where she lifted 86 kg in snatch and created the world record by lifting 119 kg in the clean and jerk, for a total of 205 kg. In June 2021, she became the only Indian woman weightlifter to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics by securing the second position. Mirabai Chahu has become a household name after achieving the silver medal in the 49kg weightlifting category in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. She wrote her name in the annals of Olympic history by becoming the first Indian weightlifter to win a silver medal and the second Indian weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari to win an Olympic medal. For her worthwhile contribution in the field of sports, she has been awarded India’s highest Sports honor, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2018. She has also been awarded Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award. She has been honored with 20 lakh rupees from the government of Manipur for achieving a gold medal in the 2017 World Weightlifting Championship. She has also been honored with 1 crore rupees from the Government of Manipur and 50 lakhs from the Government of India for winning the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.She is the proof that success doesn’t happen overnight. It requires the will to go to any extent to acquire it. Her success in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics is just a decorated showcase of the years of the physical and emotional pain she has endured to reach there.

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