Saikhom Mirabai Chanu made it.
On 5th april two ghosts resurfaced on Indian minds. One was a blackbuck the other one was a devastating Rio Olympics failure. While the former one engulfed a star, the other one was conqured and chased away by a 23 year old Manipuri girl.
It all started in 2004 summer Olympics , when one of the most decorated athletes of india , Kunjarani devi performed in Athens. She failed to win a medal, but sew the seeds of dreams inside a 9 year old Mirabai Chanu.
Mirabai started her training in 2007. After assisting her father in the fields, she journeyed 25 km to the nearest training centre everyday. Short of money and encouragement, it was her dream that kept her motivated.
And the hardwork paid a rich dividend. Her first gold medal came at international youth championship in 2011 followed by another in South Asian junior games. She was also crowned as the best lifter in 2013 at junior national championship , guwahati.
Expectation were high and she delivered on the international level . The 2014 commonwealth games gave a new star . Mirabai clinched silver at commonwealth games at Glasgow in 2014.
And then we see “life is not a bed of roses”, right. She was an automatic choice for 2016 olympics. A nation had placed her hopes on her young shoulders. But she failed miserably.She couln’t even finish the event. The jokes and criticisms were hurled at her and the coach . But quitting was never her option. She fell but she rose up.
Fast forward to 2017, world weightlifting championship at Anaheim, USA. The heart broken girl punched high and above. She stood at the middle of the podium with a tricolour. For record she even bettered her personal best to 194 kg overall. The phoenix smiled.
But that was just the beginning. The silver was yet to be converted to gold. And that was 5th April 2018. She entered as an outright favourite to the arena. Her closest rival Amanda Braddock of Canada had personal best of 173 kg overall while she stood at 194 kg. And she proved why.
The 4 feet 11 inch girl rewrote snatch history by lifting 80 kg, 84 kg , 86 kg all in single attempts .The little juggernaut again shattered clean and jerk section by lifting 103 kg, 107 kg , 110 kg in single attempts.
She not only clinched gold but raised her personal best to 196 kg overall. En route she broke half dozen records. She was fighting her inner demons more than the other weightlifters and we all know who won .
The silver medal went to 170 kg overall. You could imagine !
She proved why she was awarded padma shri , just months before.
When Mirabai chanu will return home, 15 lakh rupees will be awaiting for her by Manipur chief minister Mr. Biren Singh . but i’m sure she’ll first jump on to Kangsoi, her favourite food and her family.
But she’ll train the next morning . The Olympic ear ring that she wore after RIO is yet to be converted to a gold medal.
That’ll be her idea . That’ll be our wish.
“ veni , vidi , vici ”
( I came, I saw , I conquered )