Mirabai Chanu
Mirabai Chanu (file photo)

Apia, Samoa: Former world champion Mirabai Chanu led the Indian medal rush by notching up gold on the opening day of the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship here on Tuesday.

The Indian contingent won 13 medals that included eight gold, three silver and two bronze medals in senior, junior and youth categories.

Mirabai lifted a total of 191kg (84kg + 107 kg) in the senior women’s 49 kg event to win the gold medal in the Olympic qualifying event, the points from which will come in handy for the final rankings of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Mirabai last took part at the Asian Championship in Ningbo, China in April where she lifted 199kg (86kg+113kg) to miss out on a medal by a whisker.

The qualification process for the 2020 Olympics is based on the performances of the weightlifters in six events over a period of 18 months out of which the four best results logged by a lifter will be considered.

Jhilli Dalabehra also clinched the first place on the podium with a lift of 154kg (70kg+94kg) in the senior women’s 45 kg event which is not an Olympic weight category.

In the senior women’s 55kg, Soroikhaibam Bindyarani Devi and Matsa Santoshi won the gold and silver medals respectively.

Bindyarani lifted 78 kg in the snatch to bag the silver medal. Her effort of 105 kg fetched her a gold medal in clean and jerk as well as the overall gold.

Santoshi stood first in the snatch with a lift of 80kg but could only manage 102kg in clean and jerk taking her total to 182kg.

In the senior men’s 55kg category, Rishikanta Singh grabbed the gold with a total lift of 235kg (105kg+130kg).

Born in 1994 in Imphal East, Manipur, Mirabai Chanu was inspired by Kunjarani Devi and began weightlifting in 2007. She was considered as a successor to 2000 Olympic bronze medallist Karnam Malleswari. Chanu shined at a young age and won gold in junior levels at South Asian Junior Games and 2011 International Youth Championship.