India couldn’t have asked for a better start to their campaign at Gold Coast in Australia for the 21st Commonwealth Games. After weightlifters, Mirabai Chanu and P Gururaja gifted held the tri-colours high on the first day of action in CWG 2018 in their respective categories, glory once again beckoned on the doors of India on early Friday morning when another lifter Sanjita Chanu bagged a gold to add the nation’s medal tally to three. While Mirabai had won gold in women’s 48 kg weightlifting, and Gururaja in the men’s 56 kg category, Sanjita acquired top podium finish in women’s 53 kg category.
The Manipuri star lifted a total of 192 kgs which included a CWG record of 84 kgs in the snatch and 108 kgs in clean and jerk. Defending champion Loa Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea was a distant second with 182 kg while New Zealand’s Rachel Leblanc-Bazinet took bronze with 181 kg.
New Zealand’s Rachel, who had managed 78 kg in her first attempt, joined Sanjita at the pole position by lifting 81 kg in her second attempt. But Sanjita showed her class by equalling the CWG record of 83 kg in her second attempt to regain the lead.
The Kiwi, whose best lift in training has been 82 kg, made a brave and futile attempt to match the CWG record. The Indian then walked out to set a new CWG record at 84 kg and take the lead. The previous CWG record of 83 kg was set by compatriot Swarti Singh at the Glasgow Games in 2014.
Things were even easier for Sanjita in the clean and jerk as none of her rivals managed to produce even a semblance of a challenge.
This is India’s third medal in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. On Thursday, P Gururaja got India on the board with a second-place finish in the men’s 56 kg final.
Mirabai, who scripted her first record in the 2018 event by successfully lifting 80 kg in snatch, penned her third record in the next five minutes by lifting 86 kg in her third attempt. The lift put her ahead of her competitors as they headed in for the ‘clean and jerk’. In clean and jerk, she once again etched her name in history books as she lifted 103 kg to break Commonwealth Games record and then registered her personal best in her final attempt as Chanu lifted 110 kg. Ergo, for Chanu, it was six lifts to six records.
Earlier on Day 1, Gururaja finished third in the snatch category after completing 111 kg lift in his third attempt and finally completed the clean and jerk with 138 kg lift, also in his third attempt, to sum up to 249 kg and hence inaugurated India’s medal tally at CWG 2018. The tally is also his personal best.
Apart from weightlifting, India took off to a considerably brilliant start in mixed-event badminton as the nation thrashed Sri Lanka and then Pakistan in the two matches played on Thursday. In squash too, Dipika Pallikal, Joshna Chinappa cruised to the round of 16. However, it was heartbreak for the nation when women’s hockey team were stunned by lower-ranked Wales 2-3 in their opening tie.