Saikhom Mirabai Chanu: The Weightlifting Star


Born in Imphal East, Manipur, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu gets the honour of receiving Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award by Ram Nath Kovind at the annual national sports awards ceremony. Chanu received the Padma Shri for her gold medal win in the 48kg category at the world weightlifting championships last year. She was chosen for the Khel Ratna following her achievement, gold medal earlier this year. Saikhom is among the 20 sports persons who received the Arjuna awards from President Ram Nath Kovind.

Inspiration and hardships

Chanu took up weightlifting in 2007 after being inspired by another prominent face of Indian weightlifting, Kunjarani Devi. It did not take much time for the young girl to attract a great deal of attention as she won gold in junior levels at the South Asian Junior Games and the 2011 International Youth Championship. She also seized the yellow medal earlier this year’s Commonwealth Games but didn’t compete at the Asian Games due to injury.

Born out of struggles

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu belongs to a lower middle-class family where girls did not have the freedom to dream big. With the aim to achieve something different she abandoned archery to become a weightlifter. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has been dope tested at least 25 times in one month. She faces dope test every now and then. The test is a random thing during the competition, but somehow for Chanu, the tests are more than the normal criteria. People don’t believe her when she tells them that the test rate is 25 times within a month.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu faced criticism

Weightlifting is a dangerous sport, and there is a high risk of injury. So, physios are of paramount importance. During commonwealth games, their physios weren’t allowed to accompany them to the competition because of some enfranchisement issue. Though she won gold, she even faced some problem during the competition when she was warming up. They didn’t know till the competition that they don’t have access to physios.

Never stop believing yourself

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu believes that struggles are a part of your achievement. They work as an encouragement to achieve your dreams. Whenever you fall just remember that success is just a few miles away and you’ve to work with double force to achieve it. Struggles are part of everyone’s life and they make you stronger by pointing at your weaknesses. It’s a phase, and everyone has been through it.

This lady is inspiring every girl of India who wishes to dream something different. Her success tale will encourage other girls to win over the adversities of life.