Mirabai Chanu, one of India’s top medal prospects at the CWG 2022, won the women’s 49 kg weightlifting event in Birmingham on Saturday, securing India’s first gold medal at the CWG 2022.
Mirabai defended her CWG weightlifting title and set a new Commonwealth and Commonwealth Games record by lifting 201 kg in the process. Even more impressively, Chanu had just won gold in the Commonwealth Games 2018 on Gold Coast and took an enormous 12kg lead over her closest rival thanks to her second throw of the snatch round.
By the time Mirabai Chanu is nearly 20 minutes into her warm-up routine, she has already demonstrated otherworldly levels of flexibility, similar to Neeraj Chopra’s incredible medicine ball stretch from last year.
The Confident Mira lifted a total of 201 Kg (GR) in the Women's 49kg Finals🏋♂️ at #B2022
Snatch- 88kg (GR)
Clean & Jerk- 113kg (GR)
— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) July 30, 2022
She lays on her stomach with a resistance band wrapped around her right leg and bends the right knee while keeping the left leg straight. To prepare her muscles for the heavy lifting, she draws her hip back and brings it forward, rather than being motionless in that posture.
Mirabai then goes into a crab stance, raises one arm above her head, followed by a leg, and spins like a windmill with her calves strapped. Though painful to witness, she does it with the same broad smile she uses when she lifts weights more than double her own weight in the gym.
Weightlifting coach and physiotherapist Aaron Horschig, who has worked with Olympic weightlifters, international footballers, and baseball players, described her as “one of the most motivated lifters I’ve ever worked with.”
— Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (@mirabai_chanu) July 30, 2022
As most people don’t know, Mira does a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts to maintain her physique in shape and train for her achievement. Athletes who want to be at the top of their game must do more than just train hard and lift heavy weights; they must also maintain their bodies in top functional condition by doing other, less visible activities.
All of this is being done to help her snatch performance. Indian lifter’s 49kg gold medal was a foregone conclusion at the Commonwealth Games. After all, the 27-year-old has ruled her weight class like a king at the CWG. She weighed 201 kg, 29 kilograms more than silver medalist Marie Ranaivosoa.
When it comes to Chanu’s Saturday podium result, her coach Vijay Sharma says she wasn’t competing at her best. December is the month for the Olympic qualifiers and the World Championship.” To maintain a lifter’s peak for so long is extremely difficult. And so, the purpose of this trip will be to see how far we’ve come,” Sharma had told this newspaper before the Saturday event.
Snatchers have a strong desire for progress. Similar to Chopra, Mirabai has set her sights on the 90-meter mark in the javelin throw. Hou Zhihui (96kg) is the only lifter in the 49kg division to have snatched a lift of more than 90kg. When it comes to Mirabai, who can challenge China, it is a key aim.
Clean and jerk (119 kg) are where she holds the world record, and she did equal it on Saturday with her second attempt, but in snatch (where the barbell must be lifted above the head in one swift motion), where her personal best is required, she is eight kilograms short of China’s Zhihui’s world record.
By the time the team reaches the Paris Olympics, Sharma stated, “our key goal is to close this gap while remaining injury-free.” As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing more that can be done to increase the quality of the gram than what’s already there” (improvement by even a gram is difficult).
.@mirabai_chanu's medal ceremony 🤩
Mirabai's 3rd consecutive 🏅 at #CommonwealthGames makes our hearts swell with pride 😇
— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) July 30, 2022
My goal is to compete with the Chinese lifters, so I’ll be delighted even if we only raise our snatch score by 1kg at each round. For every competition, Chanu and her staff have put in endless hours behind the scenes in order to add that ‘one kilo’
As a result of watching Horschig’s YouTube videos, Sharma, Chanu’s coach for nearly a decade, learned of her injuries and reached out to him when she got in touch with him. They traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, in late 2020 to see Horschig face-to-face. Their visits to the facility have increased dramatically since then.
Chanu’s coach, Horschig, thinks the lifter has the strength to snatch more than 90 kilograms but needs some minor improvements in technique and stability. In the case of Mira, he explains, “she had a minor deficit in left shoulder external rotation strength and stability, which would lead her to have some very small compensation when snatching.
What a Champion !! Gold🥇for Saikhom Mirabai Chanu! @mirabai_chanu Congratulations🎉.You made India🇮🇳 proud. 🙏
The golden girl #MirabaiChanu snatch complete with personal beat 88 KG#MirabaiChanu #GoldMedal #weightlifting pic.twitter.com/N1PzZlnaMF
— Manish Parab (@maniparab_07) July 30, 2022
The issue didn’t matter when lifting light to moderate weights, but it becomes problematic when lifting heavy weights, as this can lead to missed lifts. As a result, improving stability and control was a primary objective.”
After arriving in St. Louis, Chanu would meet with Horschig three times a week to work on her stability and control with the help of corrective exercises. I spent much of my time in the gym.
Using small cross balls next to her shoulder blades, for example, would assist her to raise her shoulder blades upward by working on the soft tissues. He says the smooth upward rotation is critical to getting into an ideal overhead posture for an overhead snatch lift. And Chanu was ‘inefficient’ in this department prior to the Tokyo Olympics.
This is why we’re continually tweaking her warm-up and rehabilitation routines to ensure that these tiny concerns don’t become large problems with side-track training,” he explains. In the opinion of Horschig, a former national-level American weightlifter, Chanu stands out from the rest because of her passion to learn and never-ending drive to improve.
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