Mirabai Chanu: Lifting not only weights but also the bar of Indian women’s talents.

The Economic Times

Mirabai Chanu has dominated the whole television with her extraordinary performance in weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Her spectacular performance has made her the first Indian ever who has secured a medal in the Olympics this year. Only the second Indian weightlifting Olympian since Karnam Malleswari earned bronze in Sydney in 2000. Since weightlifting as a sport is not as popular as cricket or even football, Chanu has been greatly exposed to the Indian population as the new game changer of the country.

Early Life

Mirabai Chanu was born on 8th August 1994, in the northeastern part of Manipur. Her complete name is Saikhom Mirabai Chanu. Chanu hails from an extremely simple background. She lives with her father, Saikhom Kriti Meitei, an employee at the Public Works Department, and her mother, Saikohm Ongbi Tombi Leima, a shopkeeper. She has five siblings among whom, Chanu is the sixth and youngest child of the family.

In Chanu’s childhood days, there were no weightlifting academies near her place, and because of that particular reason, she had to face a commute of 44km every single day for her training. She started training at the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal, India, in the year 2008.


Mirabai Chanu was only 11 when she bagged her first gold medal ever in a local weightlifting contest and she hasn’t stopped leaving her graceful trail of success everywhere she goes ever since.

Her real journey of weightlifting competitions began in 2011 when she participated in the 2011 International Youth Championship and the South Asian Junior Games. With her sheer determination and hard work, she successfully bagged gold medals in both of these competitive levels.

In 2013, she took part in the Junior National Championship which was held in Guwahati, India, and got awarded the Best Lifter Award.

Chanu’s zeal for weightlifting and representing India at international levels has always been high. She has been zestfully involved in representing India under the 48kg category in weightlifting at international levels since 2014. In 2014, she participated in the Commonwealth Games under the women’s 48 kg category and went home wearing a silver medal around her neck.

Unfortunately, in 2016, when Chanu managed to get qualified for the Rio Olympics, she couldn’t finish her event and failed to secure any medal at that time, which was an immensely disheartening phase of her career life. But she didn’t let this event of her life shattered her completely and got back up stronger than ever.

In 2017, Mirabai Chanu won gold in the women’s 48 kg division at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in the United States. During the weightlifting competition, she lifted a total of 194 kg.

In 2018, Chanu won gold in the weightlifting event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, lifting a total weight of 196 kg. She snatched 86 kg and cleans and jerks 110 kg. She also set a new Commonwealth Games record in her division in the process. Not only this, in 2018, she also got awarded the highest sporting honor of the Republic of India, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Lastly, after her revolutionary performance in Tokyo Olympics 2020, Chanu expressed that after so many days of strict and controlled diet coupled with exhausting training, all she wants as a refreshment or prize is a pizza. Hearing this, Dominos came in and promised free pizza for a lifetime to Mirabai Chanu.

With her dedication & hard work, Chanu has set yet another example for the world to witness that women do anything they wish to do even with series of ups and downs.

Written by:


Karuna Arora
19 years old
Indirapuram, UP

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