Mirabai Chanu won India’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics after she won silver in the women’s weightlifting category. The Archery Mixed Team pair of Jadhav and Deepika Kumari fell in the quarterfinals to South Korea. India’s Sai Praneeth lost in the Men’s Badminton Singles, but the doubles pair of Rankireddy and Shetty won their opening fixture.
Chanu, 26, lifted a total of 202kg (87kg and 115kg) to better Karnam Malleswari’s bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and opened India’s account in Tokyo.
While China secured the gold medal with Hou Zhihui’s victory target of 210kg (94kg and 116kg), Aisah Windy Cantika of Indonesia took home the bronze with an effort of 194kg (84kg and 110kg).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the entire country is elated at weightlifter Mirabai Chanu’s achievement, who won a silver medal in the 49kg category at the Tokyo Olympics. This marked an end to India’s 21-year wait for a weightlifting medal at the Olympics.
Two decades of consistently churning out weightlifters that are among the best in the world is Manipur’s reminder that the Olympics are not a once-in-four-years event. But a way of life.
A way of life that begins at a young age because of the state’s unique way of organised sport for young children through clubs. Former Commissioner of Youth Affairs and Sports for Manipur R K Nimai Singh tries to put into words this lay of the land when he says, “The sport club culture has been a part of Manipur for centuries now. These clubs might not necessarily be dedicated to a single sport. These clubs aren’t associated with any state or national associations. They are only present because of the love of sport and an outlet of activity for young kids. For a Manipuri child, there is an option other than studying and that is to play.”
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