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Winners never quit, and quitters never win. Mirabai Chanu’s journey from Nongpok Kakching village of Manipur to Tokyo Olympics 2020 is a living example of that proverb.
In the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, being conducted amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mirabai Chanu, an Indian weightlifter, won a Silver medal for India in the Women’s 49Kg category on the first day of the Olympics itself!
She also became the First Indian Weightlifter in the last twenty years to bring a medal in Weightlifting in the Olympics because prior to her, only Karnam Malleswari who competed in the Sydney Olympic won a medal(medal) in 2000 in Weightlifting.
Her story acts as an inspiration for the aspiring weightlifters and people associated with any sports and every individual who has faced a setback and struggles to get off the shackles of self-doubt and failure.
As humans, we are bound to make umpteen mistakes in any task we undertake. Sometimes the mistake can lead to undesirable results, such as losing a high-level competition, financial loss etc. But irrespective of the outcomes, one who learns and abstains from surrendering to the circumstances emerges victoriously.
Some people may neglect the story of Mirabai Chanu as just another story of an individual from an underprivileged background, rising to the heights of success. But it’s the opposite, as the story is a box full of lessons on emotional balance, pain and resilience with instances that one can easily co-relate to in their life.
Therefore, make sure to stick throughout the entire article and read with us the inspiring story of Mirabai Chanu, who made the whole country proud through her victory at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Also, if you are interested in reading more about the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is being held amid the coronavirus pandemic, read our article on the same!
Life of Mirabai Chanu before becoming a weightlifter
Born on 8th August 1994 to Saikhom Kriti Meitei, her father and Saikhom Ongbi Tombi Leima, her mother in Nongpok Kakching in the foothills of Imphal East, Mirabai Chanu has three sisters and two brothers. Both of her parents worked extensively to meet the end’s meet for their family, While her father worked on a contract basis with the Public Works Department(PWD), her mother ran a tea stall to maintain the financial aspects of the family.
In an interview given to the media channels, one of her brothers revealed that her display of her strength got started in her childhood itself. To support her mother, Mirabai Chanu used to carry heavy wood logs all alone for hours, which made her family realize her true potential.
While growing up, Mirabai Chanu admired the former Indian Weightlifter and Arjuna awardee, Kunjarani Devi. Kunjarani Devi’s career started in 1985, and she went on to garner mostly Gold medals during her Nationals and Silver medals in her international career. Belonging to the same city, Imphal, as Kunjarani Devi, she(Mirabai Chanu) correlated with her journey and decided to pursue her career as a weightlifter.
Besides weightlifting, only a few people are aware that she was also profoundly interested in paving her career as a professional archer. Owing to the requirement of a tall height for a career in Archery, Chanu couldn’t continue her career in archery.
As the author Bob Proctor quotes, A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself and helps bring it out of you.
In Mirabai’s case, Anita Chanu, a former weightlifter and Olympian, encouraged her towards the sport and remained through her thick and thin, her coach was that mentor.
In an interview given to the press, Anita remembers that she pointed out in the first meeting that with a right direction, Mirabai could become a good weightlifter as she had the accurate body-muscle mass required to excel in the sport.
Mirabai’s dedication towards the sport is evident from the fact that she used to remain in the academy from the morning session till evening session, without a break, as confessed by her coaching Anita Chanu.
Rio Olympic Defeat to Tokyo Olympic medal
As they say, Nothing comes easy; Mirabai Chanu’s Tokyo Olympic silver medal also had its share of adversaries. In 2016, the 21-year-old Mirabai Chanu got selected for the RIO Olympics, where she failed to lift a particular weight in her three attempts at Clean & Jerk. As a consequence of which, she didn’t win any medal in the 2016 RIO Olympics.
Also, the most painful fact was that she happened to be the only Weightlifter who failed her three attempts of Clean & Jerk and that too a day before her birthday on 8th August.
The 2016 RIO Olympic defeat wasn’t easy for Mirabai Chanu and the people personally connected with her, such as her family and mentors. Her mother, in an interview, even confessed that the trauma of defeat got so severe and intense that Mirabai wanted to quit the sport.
But, she(Mirabai’s mother) and her family somehow convinced and motivated her to take the failure as a lesson and work harder for the upcoming games.Although she didn’t quit the sport, considering her then young age of 21, she faced severe mental trauma because of the RIO Olympic defeat
.The consultations with the sports psychologists at SAI(Sports Authority of India) helped her wade off the mental pressure and get back to the training arena for the upcoming 2017 Weightlifting World Championship at Anaheim.
According to the reports in the public domain, her mentors and Mirabai rewired the whole strategy and identified the areas in the Clean & Jerk that needed attention.
And as they say, COMEBACK IS ALWAYS STRONGER THAN THE SETBACK, the 2017 Weightlifting World Championship at Anaheim in the USA provided her with that opportunity for a terrific comeback!
In the World Championship 2017, in the clean & jerk, she went on to lift 109 kgs. As a consequence of which she won the Gold medal at the championship in Anaheim.
Besides the 2017 World Championship, she also won the Gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and the 2020 Senior National Weightlifting Championship. In the Senior National Weightlifting Championship, she shattered her previous record of the 2017 World Championship of lifting 201 kgs and lifted 203 kgs.
Also, in between her journey to the Tokyo Olympics, she created a world record by lifting 119 kgs in Clean & Jerk in the 2021 Asian Weightlifting Championship.
With Mirabai Chanu becoming the first Indian Weightlifter to win the silver medal at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, the whole country expressed gratitude and congratulatory wishes. The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, congratulated the Weightlifter for bringing the laurels to the nation. Besides that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and almost every well known Indian name congratulated her for the victory.
The Pizza Trivia
In an interview with NDTV, after becoming a silver medallist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Chanu said that she would like to eat pizza, she hadn’t eaten pizza for a long time because of her strict diet regime.
Within hours of her statement, Domino’s India tweeted a congratulatory statement with a kind gesture of serving the pizza to Mirabai FOR LIFE FOR FREE!!
Besides that, Domino’s India delivered several pizzas to her family in Nongpok Kakching in Imphal East.
The story of Mirabai Chanu, who would indeed go on to conquer several medals in her career and bring laurels to our nation, inspires every individual who dares to dream.
Her infinite times stronger comeback helps clear the blurred vision of people who quit after facing a setback and without realizing their true potential.
We at the Robust Story convey our heartiest congratulation and gratitude to Mirabai Chanu and our best wishes to the Indian Contingent at the Tokyo Olympics!