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Weightlifting: Mirabai Chanu’s mentor Anita recalls her student's struggle

By Sujata Sarkar
Weightlifting: Mirabai Chanu’s mentor Anita recalls her student's struggle

New Delhi, Dec 8: Anita Chanu is one of the key persons behind the success of Mirabai Chanu, the second Indian weightlifter to have won the coveted gold medal in the World Championships.

Chanu brought India a gold in the tournament after a span of 22-long-years after Karnam Malleswari won in 1995.

Anita, a former Indian international weightlifter, has been running her own weightlifting training centre at a place named Luangsungbam in the north of Mizoram and under her tutelage, Mirabai had developed herself as a reputed weightlifter following a long 10-year intense training.

Luangsungbam is around 25 kilometres from Mirabai’s home in a remote village. Anita also turned emotional after having watched her student clinch gold medal and standing at the podium.

While speaking over the phone from Luangsungbam she explained, “I am remembering those days when the parents of Mirabai were not at all willing to allow their daughter join weightlifting. Mirabai’s father used to work at state PWD department against a paltry amount of salary. So, he also used to do agricultural work at his neighbours’ land in the locality to increase earning.

"I remember those days when Mirabai often used to request me to allow training even if she would be quite late as she had to travel a distance of 25 kilometres after helping her father on the land!”

Anita expressed pride to inform that Mirabai refused to join Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Patiala and in Imphal despite repeated offers from the organisation and chose to continue training at Anita Chanu’s training centre.

Anita added, “She was practising at my training centre even three years ago when Mirabai earned a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games.”

Mirabai had a poor show in the Rio Olympics last year. She crashed out of the tournament even before being able to qualify for the final round. Her childhood coach did not seem to be much concerned back then.

Rather Anita clarified, “Mirabai has regained her form. I feel she might even win a gold medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020 and that will be her actual revenge of Rio Olympics failure.”

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    Story first published: Friday, December 8, 2017, 12:48 [IST]
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