Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Mirabai Chanu’s campaign in the Asian games weightlifting competition ended on a disastrous note as she finished fourth in the 49kg event in Hangzhou ,China on Saturday.
Commonwealth Games silver medalist Bindyarani Devi also had a poor day as she finished fifth in the 55kg and with this India’s medal drought in weightlifting at the Asian Games extended further. It was back in 1998 at Bangkok when Karnam Malleswari claimed a silver in women’s 63kg.
Weightlifting competitions at the Asian Games will be held in seven men’s and seven women’s divisions. India, however, sent only two weightlifters, both in women’s categories.
Former World champion Mirabai Chanu lifted 83kg in snatch, modest by her standards, and 108kg in clean and jerk for a combined lift of 191kg (83kg+108kg). The 29-year-old has a personal best of 88kg in snatch and 119kg in the clean and jerk.
DPR Korea’s Ri Song-gum won the gold medal with a world record combined lift of 216kg (94kg+122kg). The 122kg was also the world record clean and jerk in 49kg. Jiang Huihua, who broke Mirabai Chanu’s previous world record of 119kg with 120kg to win the gold medal at the world championships in Saudi Arabia earlier this month, won silver with a total of 213kg (94kg+119kg). Thailand’s Thanyathon Sukcharoen lifted 199kg (90kg+109kg) for bronze.
Competing at the Xiaoshan Sports Centre Gymnasium, Mirabai Chanu started with an 83kg lift in the snatch. She tried for 86kg on her second and third attempts but could not complete it. The effort placed her sixth after the snatch competition.
The Indian looked in pain after her final attempt in snatch but went for 108kg on her first try in clean and jerk. She went for 117kg on the next two attempts in a bid to get back in the medal race but ended up hurting herself further and bowed out with a fourth-place finish. Mirabai later revealed that she had hurt her right thigh during warm-up.
Mirabai underwent a five-month rehabilitation programme after winning silver at the 2022 world championships in December but decided to skip this year’s world championships to remain fit ahead of the Asian Games. She missed the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta due to an injury and finished ninth in 2014.
Bindyarani meanwhile, managed a total lift of 196kg (83kg+113kg) in the women’s 55kg division later in the day. DPR Korea’s Hongyong Kang took home the gold medal with world records each in snatch, clean and jerk and total lifts.
Hongyong Kang lifted 233kg (103kg+130kg) while her compatriot Suyon Ri (96kg+126kg) won silver. China’s Zhihui Hou, who beat Mirabai Chanu for gold in women’s 49kg at the Tokyo Olympics, settled for bronze with an effort of 210kg (95kg+115kg).