Decision to train in US before Olympics played big role inwinning medal, says Mirabai


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Chanu on Monday returned to India after a sensational show in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics

Olympic Silver Medallist Mirabai Chanu along with her coach Vijay Sharma. (Photo: Twitter/ Mirabai Chanu)

New Delhi: After winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, weightlifter Mirabai Chanu on Monday said that her decision to go to the US to get trained before the Tokyo Olympics played a big role in her being able to win a medal.

Chanu on Monday returned to India after a sensational show in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. The silver medallist underwent a mandatory RT-PCR test at the Delhi airport. The weightlifter had opened India's medals tally on Saturday as she bagged a silver in the Women's 49kg category at Tokyo International Forum.

"The decision to go to the US had a big role in me winning a medal at the Olympics. There was a time when all flights were shutting down to the US because of the pandemic. But SAI and Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped us get the ticket and I was able to reach there. I was able to train in the US. I got all the desired support. I want to thank everyone for their support. The Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) helped me to train to the best of my ability and I had all the best facilities," Chanu told ANI after returning to India.

Asked about the challenges she had to face a day before and on the day of her event, Chanu said: "You do get tensed, there are doubts that can come in. I tried to forget it, I just thought that it (menstrual cycle) can happen to anyone. I just looked past it."

"It was quite challenging. It was our dream to win an Olympic medal. We started our preparation in 2016, I missed out on a medal in Rio Olympics and I changed the training pattern after Rio Olympics. We (Chanu and her coach Vijay Sharma) have dedicated the last 5 years to Tokyo Olympics and sacrificed everything for my goal. We did a lot of hard work, and we made a lot of sacrifices and this is why we have been able to achieve this feat," she added.

Chanu had lifted a total of 202 kg (87kg in snatch and 115kg in clean and jerk) during her four successful attempts across the competition. China's Zhihui Hou bagged gold with a total of 210kg and created a new Olympic Record while Indonesia's Windy Cantika Aisah grabbed bronze with a total of 194 kg.

"I was nervous a day before as every Indian had hope that Mirabai will win a medal for the country. I was tensed but I was confident at the same time that I will perform well. I had faith that I will give my best, but I did have a little bit of tension," said Chanu.

"We did a lot of work in the snatch, I was confident in that part of the event. We did a lot of training. China is strong in that department, but I was able to challenge my opponents. The experience was very nice, the dream has been fulfilled, the hard work that I did for the last five years has paid off," she added.

With this monumental silver medal, Chanu has become the second Indian weightlifter to win an Olympic medal after Karnam Malleswari bagged bronze in the 69kg category at the 2000 Sydney Games when the weightlifting arena was opened to women for the first time.