NEW DELHI — Mirabai Chanu Nov. 30 became the first Indian in over two decades to claim a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championships in the U.S., exorcising the ghosts of her forgettable outing at the Rio Olympics.
Chanu, who is employed by the Indian Railways, lifted 85kg in snatch and 109kg in clean and jerk to total an impressive 194kg in the women's 48kg, in the process setting a new national record.
Seeing the tricolor from the podium, tears of joy rolled down her cheeks, as Chanu picked up a rare honor for an Indian at the marquee event.
Olympic bronze medalist Karnam Malleshwari has won the gold twice at the World Weightlifting Championships – in 1994 and 1995.
Chanu's outing in Anaheim, Calif., was very different from the way things panned out in Rio last year when she was unable to get an overall total in the women's 48kg after failing to lift the weights in any of her three attempts in the clean and jerk section.
In a field of 12 lifters at the Rio Games, she was one of two lifters who did not finish her event.
Thailand's Sukcharoen Thunya won the silver medal with a total lift of 193, while Segura Ana Iris bagged the bronze with 182kg.
Some of the world's top weightlifting nations such as Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Azerbaijan could not take part in the competition due to issues related to doping.