NEW DELHI: Weightlifter Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu has delivered India its second gold medal of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast City, Australia by dominating the women’s 53kg event at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on Friday.
Back at the venue where last year she won gold in the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, the 24-year-old from Manipur broke the existing CWG record with a lift of 84kg in the snatch category and then lifted 108 in the clean & jerk to finish with a combined effort of 192kg.
The defending champion, Loa Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea, claimed silver with a total lift of 182 (80 in snatch and 102 in clean & jerk) and bronze went to Canada’s Rachel Leblanc-Bazinet who finished with a combined effort of 181kg (81 in snatch and 100 in clean & jerk).
Sanjita entered the Gold Coast Games as one of the brightest medal hopes for India – she won gold four years ago at the Glasgow CWG in the 48kg category – and having switched to the 53kg category she lived upto her billing. She began the snatch with a lift of 81kg, equalled the CWG record with 83kg in her second attempt and then made the record her own with a super lift of 84kg, which gave her a lead of 3kg heading into the clean & jerk section. The previous CWG record had been set by India’s Swarti Singh four years ago.
In the clean & jerk, Sanjita moved into gold medal position with lifts of 104kg and 108kg before losing her balance in the final attempt. That meant that Dika Toua had to lift 113kg in her final lift, but despite giving her best she stumbled and lost grip of the bar, which meant that Sanjita was the gold medalist. Her gold came a day after Mirabai Chanu won gold in the women’s 48 kg with a combined effort of 196kg to smash her previous career best of 194kg and P Gururaja took home silver in the men’s 56kg event.
Manipur, which accounts for 0.20% of India”s population has won 50% of all the medals won by India in the CWG history.
Sanjita took an interest in weightlifting after being inspired by the iconic N Kunjarani Devi. She made headlines after winning gold at the 2009 senior nationals before grabbing a bronze at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in 2011. In 2012, she won gold at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships. At the 2014 CWG, at just 20 years of age, Sanjita won gold over Mirabai Chanu with a total lift of 173 kg which was just two kgs short of the Games record.
Sanjita booked a spot at the 2018 CWG after taking gold in the women’s 53kg with a total lift of 195kg (85kg+110kg) at the Commonwealth Senior (men and women) Weightlifting Championships.
In Video: CWG 2018: Sanjita Chanu wins second gold medal for India
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