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HomeSportsCalm and confident Mirabai Chanu almost through to Paris

Calm and confident Mirabai Chanu almost through to Paris

Mirabai Chanu returned to competitive action with a 12th-place finish at the IWF World Cup in Phuket on Monday, the low-key result all but sealing her spot for the Paris Olympics. Chanu was coming off a six-month rehabilitation following a hip tendonitis injury that she sustained at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

India’s Mirabai Chanu reacts after winning the gold medal in the women’s 49kg weightlifting category at the Commonwealth Games 2022(PTI)

Chanu lifted a modest 184 kgs — 81kg snatch and 103 kg clean and jerk — in the mandatory Paris qualifier that was won by North Korea’s Ri Song Gum. The Chinese duo of Hou Zhihui and Jiang Huihua completed the top three. The 29-year-old Indian had lifted 202kg (87kg in snatch + 115kg in clean and jerk) to win silver in Tokyo while her personal best in snatch is 88kg and 119kg in clean and jerk.

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“It feels incredible to come back after injury. Almost every lift I made today felt clean, clear and powerful, and I’m leaving this competition feeling strong and confident,” Chanu said.

With this, Chanu has fulfilled the minimum participation criteria for the Paris Olympics, which included two compulsory events — 2023 World Championships being the other — and three other qualifiers. Chanu also competed at the 2022 Worlds and the 2023 Asian Championships and registered herself for the 2023 Worlds and Grand Prix II where she appeared for the weigh-ins but did not compete.

The former world champion is currently second on the women’s 49kg Olympic Qualification Ranking (OQR), behind China’s Jian HuiHua. The rankings will be updated at the end of the World Cup, which is when the official announcement for the qualification will be made. Top ten lifters from each weight class, one from each NOC in a single weight class, will qualify for the Olympics.

“The rehabilitation was tough and demanding but I pushed through all the complications. The journey to get here required relentless dedication and hard work, and I couldn’t be happier being back on the ramp — lifting and competing for my country. The goal was to secure my spot for the Paris Olympics, and now that I am almost through, all my attention is on making a mark at the Paris Olympics,” Chanu, who is based in NIS Patiala, added.

National coach Vijay Sharma, who accompanied Chanu to Phuket, said he was proud of Chanu’s effort.

“Seeing her perform comfortably today, given she is returning after six months of injury and rehabilitation, makes me proud of all the hard work we have done. Today, she was comfortable and confident in her lifts. Now that we’re almost through, our focus is firmly set on the Paris Olympics 2024. It’s time to channel all our energy into preparing for the main event in Paris,” he said.

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