Mirabai Chanu Saikhom
- Further Personal Information
- Manipur, IND
- Athlete, Railway Worker
- Sport Specific Information
- When and where did you begin this sport?
- She began weightlifting in 2008 at Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal, India.
- Why this sport?
- She was inspired to try the sport after watching Indian weightlifter Kunjarani Devi. "I was baffled at how she was lifting such heavy weights. So I told my parents that I wanted to do this, and with some reluctance they agreed."
- Club / Team
- Indian Railways: India
- Name of coach
- Vijay Sharma [national]
- Training Regime
- She has three training sessions a day at the National Institute of Sport in Patiala, India.
- General Interest
- Most influential person in career
- Her mother. (indianexpress.com, 08 Aug 2019)
- Hero / Idol
- Indian weightlifter Kunjarani Devi. (sportskeeda.com, 24 Jul 2016)
- A lower back injury forced her to miss the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. (ndtv.com, 17 Sep 2018)
- Awards and honours
- In September 2018 she was presented with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India's highest sporting honour. (firstpost.com, 23 Aug 2018)
She received the Padma Shri Award in 2018, the fourth highest civilian honour in India. (firstpost.com, 23 Aug 2018)
She was named the 2017 Weightlifter of the Year at the Times of India Sports Awards [TOISA]. (indiatimes.com, 15 Mar 2018)
She was named Best Lifter at the 2013 National Junior Championships in Guwahati, India. (sportskeeda.com, 24 Jul 2016)
- To break the world record in the 49kg category and win gold at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (hindustantimes.com, 12 Feb 2019)
- Other information
- NEW WEIGHT CLASS
After returning from a lower back injury in 2018, she moved from the 48kg category to 49kg. She believes she will have to lift beyond the 200kg mark in order to compete against the best in the world in her new weight category, including the lifters who have come down from the 53kg category. "The competition will be tougher now. Yes, I am at a disadvantage because those who have moved from 53kg can lift one or two kilograms more than us but I have to focus on my own performance. My aim is to touch 210kg before the Tokyo Olympics, which will be a world record. It will not be easy but my target is to do that and I will have to work harder than before." (sportstar.thehindu.com, 26 Jul 2019; hindustantimes.com, 12 Feb 2019)
She first tried weightlifting in 2008 at the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal, India, although she had originally gone there in the hope of taking up archery. However, she met weightlifting coach Anita Chanu and was persuaded to try the sport. "When I was growing up, I did stuff like wood cutting, at nearby hills, bringing them up by myself and then fetching water from nearby ponds, in milk powder cans. [Anita Chanu] told me to bring bamboo trunks, to be used as barbells, for technique training. In weightlifting, you have to start with technique training, building body strength comes later. I had to find some nice bamboo trees near my house and cut them to be used as a kind of a barbell. This continued for around a month. Once the technical training was done, I shifted to normal training." (iwf.net, 23 Apr 2018)
She works as a ticket controller for Northeast Frontier Railway, a unit of the Railway Sports Promotion Board in India. (sportstar.thehindu.com, 22 Feb 2019)
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