Sanjita gives India yet another lift

New Delhi: Winning two Commonwealth Games (CWG) titles by age 24, in different weight categories and with CWG records is no easy task. But weightlifter Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu is no ordinary athlete.

The Manipur star won gold in the women’s 53kg category at the 21st Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast on Friday.

She lifted a total of 192kg which included a CWG record of 84kg in the snatch and 108kg in clean and jerk. Defending champion Loa Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea was a distant second with 182kg while New Zealand’s Rachel LeBlanc-Bazinet took bronze with 181kg.

Meanwhile, Sanjita’s elated parents in Imphal said she had always been a sports fan since her childhood.

“Being a poor family, we could hardly provide Sanjita a nutritious meal. Time and again she asked if she should give up her dream of pursuing sports. But I always encouraged her to continue doing what she loves,” says Sanjita’s mother K. Tekon Leima.

Even though Sanjita, who took up the sport in 2006, became an international player, the Manipur government had only offered her the post of a police constable.

Her parents deemed the move as humiliation. She is currently working with the Indian Railways.

“We would like the Manipur government to provide her with a better job as she has brought home international laurels,” her parents said.

After Sanjita’s win on Friday, a large number of people assembled at her tin-roofed madhouse in Imphal’s Kaka locality to celebrate.

Sanjita’s triumph adds to the formidable legacy that Indian — and Manipuri — weightlifters have built up at the CWG.

This was India’s second gold at this year’s CWG. Fellow Manipuri weightlifter Mirabai Chanu had won gold with spectacular record breaking attempts in the women’s 48kg on Thursday.

It was also the second CWG gold of Sanjita’s career. She had won the 48kg title at the Glasgow Games in 2014, setting a new CWG record in the snatch along the way.

Sanjita’s winning total of 173kg had missed the then CWG record — set by Nigeria’s Augustina Nkem Nwaokolo at the 2010 Delhi Games — by two kilograms.

Sanjita had however equalled Nwaokolo’s CWG record in the snatch with an effort of 77kg.

Deepak Lather picked up a bronze medal in the men’s 69kg competition.

Lather managed 136 kilograms in the snatch and 159kg in clean and jerk for a total of 295kg.

Gareth Evans of Wales won gold with a total of 299kg following efforts of 136kg in snatch and 163kg in clean and jerk.

Indika Dissanayake of Sri Lanka took the bronze medal following lifts of 137kg in snatch and 160kg in clean and jerk which gave him a total of 297kg.