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India’s Mirabai Chanu qualifies for Commonwealth Games with gold at Singapore Weightlifting International 2022

Mirabai Chanu was competing in the 55kg weight category for the first time. Sanket Mahadev, Rishikantha Singh and Bindyarani Devi also qualified for Birmingham 2022.

Tokyo Olympics silver-medallist Mirabai Chanu won the gold medal in the 55kg weight category at the Singapore Weightlifting International 2022 competition on Friday to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Competing in the 55kg weight division for the first time instead of her pet 49kg, Mirabai Chanu managed a best lift of 86kg in snatch and followed it up with 105kg in clean and jerk for a combined lift of 191kg. The competition is being held at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall in Singapore.

Jessica Sewastenko of Australia won the silver medal with a combined lift of 167kg (77kg snatch+90kg clean and jerk) while Malaysia’s Elly Cassandra Engelbert clinched bronze with 165kg (75kg+90kg) lift.

Mirabai Chanu is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion in 49kg and was guaranteed qualification in the division at Birmingham based on her current world rankings. The Indian weightlifter’s silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics also came in the same weight category.

The Manipuri ace, however, was asked by the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) to move up to the 55kg weight class for the Commonwealth Games 2022 in order to increase India’s medal chances at the quadrennial showpiece.

Mirabai Chanu needed to finish in the top eight at the Singapore meet to qualify for the 55kg event at CWG 2022, which will be held in Birmingham in July-August.

Having pulled out of the world championships in December, this was Mirabai Chanu’s first competitive event since clinching historic silver in Tokyo.

Other Indians who qualified for the Commonwealth Games 2022 on Friday were Sanket Mahadev (men’s 55kg), Rishikantha Singh (men’s 55kg) and Bindyarani Devi (women’s 59kg).

Sanket Mahadev won the gold in 55kg with a best lift of 113kg in snatch and 143kg in clean and jerk for an overall lift of 256kg. Sanket Mahadev bested his own national record of 244kg overall lift in the process.

Rishikantha Singh, meanwhile, finished with the silver medal with an overall effort of 246kg (110kg+136kg). Sri Lanka’s Dilanka Isuru Kumara followed the two Indians with a 238kg (106kg+132kg) lift.

Bindyarani Devi, who used to compete in the women’s 55kg before Mirabai Chanu’s shift, won the gold in women’s 59kg with a combined lift of 196kg (85kg+111kg).

Australia’s Brenna Kean, with 190kg (82kg+108kg), and Tori Gallegos, with 183kg (78kg+105kg), completed the women’s 59kg podium.

Overall, eight Indian weightlifters registered for the competition in Singapore, which is also the final qualifying event for Birmingham 2022.

Other Indian weightlifters Jeremy Lalrinnunga, Achinta Sheuli, Ajay Singh and Purnima Pandey have already qualified for the Commonwealth Games 2022.

Popy Hazarika (women’s 64kg) and Natesh Kumara Usha Bannur (women’s 87kg) will compete on Saturday while Vikas Thakur and Ragala Venkat Rahul, competing in the men’s 96kg weight division, will be in action on Sunday.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala

Photo : olympics.com

Website : olympics.com