Saikhom MIRABAI CHANU

India IND

Weightlifting

  • Olympic Medals
    1 S
  • Games participations
    2
  • First Olympic Games
    Rio 2016
  • Year of Birth
    1994
Olympic Results

Biography

Saikhom MIRABAI CHANU

An Olympic silver medallist, a world champion and two-time Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, Mirabai Chanu can lay claim to being one of India’s finest weightlifters.

Mirabai’s silver medal at Tokyo 2020 was only the second Olympic medal by an Indian weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari. She also became only the second Indian woman after PV Sindhu to win an Olympic silver medal.

It helped banish the demons of her debut Olympics at Rio 2016 - where she had entered after shattering a 12-year national record - but was unable to complete any of her clean-and-jerk lifts.

The disappointment left Mirabai Chanu depressed and she even contemplated early retirement. The silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics was the result of steely determination and numerous sacrifices.

From lifting firewood as a kid to being elevated onto international podiums, Mirabai Chanu's story is one of a remarkable journey.

Born in a family with limited means and the youngest among six siblings in Nongpok Kakching, a village in Imphal, Chanu’s lifting prowess was first noted when she was around 12. She was able to lift and carry home a bundle of firewood that was way too heavy for her brother, four years her senior.

Always drawn to sports, Mirabai Chanu initially wanted to take up archery until stumbling into a weightlifting hall at a local sports complex in Imphal.

A natural at the sport, Mirabai quickly had an idol to try and emulate, finding inspiration from the exploits of India's most decorated female weightlifter, Kunjarani Devi.

Mirabai Chanu sprung to international prominence at the age of 20, when she bagged the silver medal in the 48kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

At the 2017 world weightlifting championships in Anaheim, USA, Mirabai Chanu became the first Indian weightlifter in over two decades to claim a gold medal. Her effort in the 48kg category was the first since Sydney 2000 bronze medallist Karnam Malleswari’s title runs in 1994 and 1995.

She followed that up with a gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, an event that saw Mirabai smash the Games record in ‘snatch’, ‘clean and jerk’ and ‘total’. But an injury to her lower back would draw curtains on what was shaping up for a spectacular season.

It meant that Mirabai had to sit out of the Asian Games and the world championships in 2018, and then spend nearly a year away from the floor, recuperating from the injury.

It was only in 2019 that Mirabai returned to compete at the world championships in Thailand. She could only manage a fourth-place finish, but it was a memorable outing at the Pattaya event as she breached the 200kg mark for the first time in her career.

At the 2021 Asian weightlifting championships in Tashkent in April, Mirabai Chanu set a new world record in the clean and jerk with a lift of 119kgs. 

It set her up perfectly for the Tokyo Olympics, where the silver medal lifted a huge burden off her shoulders.

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Tokyo 2020

S
Women's 49kg
Women's 49kg Weightlifting
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Rio 2016

#DNF
Flyweight (≤48 kilograms)
Flyweight (≤48 kilograms) Weightlifting