Star Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu saw her dream of winning an elusive Asian Games medal disappear after sustaining a thigh injury during the women’s 49kg event on Saturday.
The Olympic silver medalist finished fourth after two failed attempts in the clean and jerk round.
Struggling With Injury During Warm Up
According to Chanu, she felt pain in her right thigh while warming up before the event. Despite being advised by her coach Vijay Sharma to withdraw, Chanu was determined to compete for the country.
“I had trained hard but I could not bring the results because of this pain. I tried my best to win a medal for the country but could not. I am feeling bad,” said a disappointed Chanu.
Fails To Lift Usual Weights
In the snatch round, an ailing Chanu managed to lift only 83kg, which remained her best attempt. Her struggles continued in the clean and jerk, where she succeeded in lifting 108kg in her first attempt but faltered during her second try of 117kg.
Chanu revealed she pushed herself in her second clean and jerk attempt in order to win a bronze medal. “If I had lifted 117kg I would have won a bronze medal,” she said.
😔 Heartbreaking update:
Mirabai Chanu faced setbacks, failing in her last two attempts at 117kg in Clean & Jerk and sustaining a thigh injury. 😔
We pray for her speedy recovery!
— nnis (@SportsNnis) September 30, 2023
North Korea’s Ri Song-gum Wins Gold
Meanwhile, North Korea’s Ri Song-gum clinched the gold medal in the event by breaking the world and Asian Games records. Song-gum lifted a total of 216kg to finish above China’s Jiang Huihua, who bagged silver with an effort of 213kg.
With 199kg, Thailand’s Thanyathon Sukcharoen took home the bronze medal.
No Medal Since 1998
Chanu’s injury-forced early exit marks yet another tricky outing for India in weightlifting at the Asian Games. The country has not won a medal in the sport since Karnam Malleswari’s bronze in 1998.
A back injury had forced Chanu to miss the previous edition in 2018 as well. The Manipuri lifter had finished 9th in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Eyes on 2024 Olympics
The 28-year-old Chanu has described the Asian Games medal as the only one missing from her trophy cabinet. She has won gold at the Commonwealth Games twice and a silver at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Despite the disappointing end to her Asian Games debut, Chanu remains hopeful of recovering in time to prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics.