The gritty 24-year-old didn't let a back injury stop her from winning gold in the Commonwealth Games for the second time!
After Mirabai Chanu’s weightlifting exploits yesterday, India woke up to the news of fellow Manipuri, Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu’s sensational gold medal in the women’s 53 kg category at the Commonwealth Games.
This is her second CWG gold medal following the one in Glasgow, where she won the 48 kg category. She lifted a combine 192 kg (84 kg in snatch and 108 kg in clean and jerk) in the 53 kg category.
During the course of the competition today, she also set a new CWG record in snatch by lifting 84 kg but missed the 111 kg clean and jerk record by just 3 kg, finishing with 108 kg. In the snatch, she created a new record by lifting 84 kg in her third attempt. While Sanjita went onto lift 108 kg (clean and jerk) in her second attempt, she was unable to cross the 111 kg barrier.
Bhartiya Naari Sab par Bhaari. One more Gold. Congratulations #SanjitaChanu for winning our second gold in #GC2018Weightlifting in the women’s 53kg category. #CWG2018
Her second CWG gold after the 48kg one in Glasgow. Proud of you champion. pic.twitter.com/Xnms7T6Byz
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) April 6, 2018
With her sensational performance today, Sanjita became only the second Indian to secure gold in the 53 kg category at the CWG after another fellow state compatriot Sanamacha Chanu.
Following in the footsteps of Indian weightlifting legend Kunjarani Devi, Sanjita also became the second Indian female weightlifter to secure gold across two different editions of the Commonwealth Games.
Here five things about Sanjita Chanu that will leave you rooting for her.
1) Sanjita was just a 20-year-old when she won the gold medal in the 48 kg category, finishing above compatriot Mirabai Chanu. “Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is a talented weightlifter and is a good friend of mine,” said Sanjita in a 2015 interview with Sportskeeda.
Since then, however, Mirabai has taken over the 48 kg category, leaving Sanjita to compete in another weight category and the shift in weight class has come with its benefits. “I don’t have to fight to break the weight. I can eat a little bit now!” she tells ESPN in a recent interview.
2) Since her success in 2014, life has not been easy for this pocket dynamite of a weightlifter, who is also employed by the Indian Railways. Before the 2014 CWG, she had already won two Commonwealth Championships. Poor form and injury, however, left her unable to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“A lot of people had doubts about whether I would win a medal again. I had another injury to my back during the World Championships in 2017. I had to work harder, had a lot of help from my coaches and federation, who showed a lot of patience with me, and even after coming here, I had to spend extra time with the physio, nearly half-an-hour before every training session to get ready. So, when I received the medal, it brought tears to my eyes as I was delighted and relieved to have answered my critics,” said Sanjita today, according to the Hindustan Times.
3) Despite her difficulties, she has always set the bar high. According to the Press Trust of India, she was reportedly left a shade disappointed today despite winning the gold.
“Had I not dropped my last lift, I would have created a Games record. I absolutely wanted to do it, but I missed it, and I am a bit sad about that. But I guess it’s ok, I don’t know,” said the reigning Commonwealth Championships gold medal winner.
She was attempting to break the women’s 53 kg clean and jerk CWG record but was unable to pull it off. “God was probably not with me today,” she said.
4) Like Mirabai Chanu, Sanjita looks up to Kunjarani Devi for inspiration. “I took up weightlifting after being inspired by her exploits on the international stage. She has achieved so much for the country, and it feels good to have her as coach of the women’s team. There is so much to learn from her,” Sanjita told Sportskeeda in a 2015 interview.
5) Despite her past success, and even after acquiring the necessary credentials, Sanjita was overlooked for the 2017 Arjuna Award, leaving her bitterly disappointed. Both Sanjita and the Indian Wrestling Federation are contesting the matter in the Delhi High Court.
Having said that, after Sanjita’s success today, it is impossible for the sports ministry to ignore her claims anymore.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)