Mirabai Chanu: Manipur’s Daughter, India’s Pride!

Mirabai Chanu holding up her Olympic silver medal for weightlifting

Poverty is never an excuse for achieving one’s dreams!

Mirabai Chanu, who began lifting firewood as a child, is now one of India’s best-known weightlifting stars. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu from Manipur scripted history as she won the silver medal in the Women’s 49kg weightlifting event at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mirabai Chanu, a native of Manipur’s capital city Imphal, was born on 8 August 1994. She won her first gold medal in a local weightlifting competition when she was 11 years old. Later, she began her international weightlifting career by competing in the World and Asian Junior Championships, where she won medals in both. She idolises Indian weightlifter Kunjarani Devi.

Determined to win

Mirabai Chanu at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Her father Saikhom Kriti says, “She is the youngest baby out of six siblings. From the age of 12 she indicated that she would want to become an athlete. But we are a poor family. All we could do was to give her Rs 5 daily. With this, she used to go from home at Nongpok Kakching to the Khuman Lampak. As the bus service was unreliable she used to hitch a ride in trucks transporting sand, stones, etc.

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C. Joseph
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C. Joseph

C. Joseph is as a counsellor in St Joseph’s College, Jakhama in Nagaland. He has written a number of articles and has produced several music albums in English and Tamil.