Record-breaking Mirabai Chanu takes India’s first gold at CWG

Mirabai Chanu led the 49kg field as expected to defend her Commonwealth Games title and give India their first gold medal of the Birmingham edition here on Saturday.

The Olympic silver medalist amassed a total of 201kg (88kg + 113kg) to demonstrate her authority in the competition and set a Commonwealth Games record in the process.

Silver went to Marie Hanitra Roilya Ranaivosoa of Mauritius (172 kg) and bronze to Hannah Kaminski of Canada (171 kg).

In a remarkable feat, Chanu broke Commonwealth (Commonwealth Championships and CWG) and Games records in the snatch. She wiped out the game record in Clean and Jerk as well as Total Lift.

27-year-old Chanu is an overwhelming favorite in her weight class, setting a fairly low starting weight of 80kg in the snatch and 105 in the clean and jerk before bumping her first attempt to 84kg. Going into the competition, she had personal bests of 88 kg and 119 kg, a world record in clean and jerk at 207 kg total.

Her closest competitor in the field, Stella Kingsley of Nigeria, came into the competition with a personal best of 168kg (72kg + 96kg), summing up the gap between her and the rest.

The atmosphere in the NEC Arena was electric, spurring the athletes on to do their best, while the music kept the fans entertained.

As the MC also pointed out, coming out with Chanu standing head and shoulders above the others was more about competing with herself than her opponents.

Chanu’s first attempt at the snatch was comfortable before lifting 88 kg in the second before leaving 90 kg for the third and final attempt. She was unable to set a new personal best, but still went in the clean and jerk 12kg ahead of Ranaivosoa.

The clean and jerk started quite dramatically as Bangladesh’s Marija Akhter fell to the ground after a failed 70kg attempt.

With her closest competitors trying to go 15kg lighter than Chanu, the result was a foregone conclusion.

The battle for silver and bronze ended with Kingsley, Kaminski and Ranaivosa.

It was a heartbreaking end for Nigerian lifter Kingsley, whose 98kg attempt was declared a no lift after an early cheer.

Chanu comfortably lifted 109 kg on her first attempt before aiming for 113 kg on the second attempt.

Daring not to reach her world record of 119 kg, she went to 115 kg on her last lift but missed.

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