India's star weightlifter Mirabai Chanu proved to be a class apart from the rest of the field in the women's 48 kilogram category at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia on Thursday.
The Manipuri powerhouse left the competition far behind by setting Games and Commonwealth records in the snatch, clean and jerk as well as the total.
She registered 86 kg in the snatch and 110 kg in clean and jerk for a total of 196 kg.
She started her campaign in spectacular fashion by breaking the existing Games record with a lift of 80 kilograms in her very first attempt in the snatch section. She bettered that in each of her subsequent two attempts.
Chanu produced a similar performance in clean and jerk as well, breaking the existing Games record with her first attempt and subsequently increasing the load.
Chanu thus broke six records in each of her six attempts in the competition, a truly jaw dropping performance.
The reigning world champion thus obliterated the previous Games record of 175 kg set by Nigeria's Augustina Nwaokolo at the 2010 edition by a considerable distance.
Her previous personal best was 194 kg which she had set during her title winning run at the World Championships last year.
Thursday's show adds to the impressive record which Chanu has built up since her days in the junior level.
Her performances over the last couple of years has projected as the successor to the formidable tradition of Indian weightlifting.
With the Asian Games coming up later this year and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics not too far away, Chanu has demonstrated that she is ready to take over the mantle from previous stalwarts like multiple World Championships medallist Kunjarani Devi, 2000 Olympic bronze medallist Karnam Malleswari, Laishram Monika Devi and Sanjita Chanu.
However, life has not been all smooth sailing for the 23-year-old from Imphal East district. Like most Indian sportspersons, she has faced her fair share of difficulties and had to fight hard to achieve her current status.
Inspired by India's weightlifting icon Kunjarani Devi, who also hails from her native Manipur, Chanu took to the sport in 2007 and has not looked back since then.
She showed early promise when she won gold medals at the South Asian Junior Games and the 2011 International Youth Championships.
Her first medal in a major event at the senior level came at the previous Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland back in 2014.
She had taken a silver on that occasion with Sanjita Chanu winning the gold medal.
Chanu continued her streak of impressive performances with gold medals at the 2016 South Asian Games and the 2017 Commonwealth Championships.
(Ajeyo Basu can be contacted at email@example.com)
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