Mirabai ended the Snatch round with a best valid lift of 87kg. In the Clean and Jerk, she declared her first lift to be of 110kg. With a C&J world record of 119kg in her name, it was more likely that Mira would do it. But it still had to be done. She climbed up the stage, looking calm as ever, and got all three green lights, before loosening her grip on the iron bar. It virtually confirmed her silver.
She did better her C&J score with 115kg in her next attempt and went on to add two more kilos to her final attempt of 117kg, but failed to register a clean lift. Her combined weight total was 202kg, 8 kg behind the gold medallist.
Silver it was for Mirabai, as China’s Zhihui Hou clinched gold with a new Olympic Record combined weight of 210kg. Bronze went to Cantika Aisah of Indonesia for lifting a combined weight of 194kg.
“It’s really a dream come true for me. I would like to dedicate this medal to my country and would like to thank the billion prayers of all Indians, which were with me during this journey,” said Mira after standing second on the podium and giving India its 29th Olympic medal overall.
She is the only Indian after Karnam Malleswari (bronze, Sydney 2000) to win an Olympic medal for India in weightlifting.
“I would like to thank my family, especially my mother for her sacrifices and for believing in me. Also special thanks to our government for supporting me — Ministry of Sports, Sports Authority of India, Indian Olympic Association, Weightlifting Federation of India, Railways, Olympic Gold Quest, sponsors and my marketing agency IOS for their continuous support.”
Months before the rescheduled Tokyo Games, Mira was sent to the US to work on her back, under the care of former American weightlifter-turned-physiotherapist Dr Aaron Horschig.
“I would like to give special thanks to my coach Vijay Sharma sir and the support staff for their continuous hard work, motivation and training.” she further said.
Sharma, her long-time coach, was equally elated, especially looking back during the lockdown phase that had left Mirabai without practice and locked inside her room at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala.
“Her fighting spirit is unbelievable. Despite facing injury for some time, she made a strong comeback,” said Sharma. “I have been working with her for the last eight years and I always loved her dedication towards the sports which encourages the coach and staff to work hard.” Sharma said after the silver medal had been won in Tokyo.
“I am really proud of my student Mira. This medal is a result of her dedication, hard work and passion. It’s a proud moment for me and the entire nation that we have won a silver medal for our country,” he added.
It was Sharma who took the decision to fly Mirabai to the USA and get her assessed by Dr Horschig.
“This is not the end. We will continue to work hard and bring more laurels for our nation,” the coach concluded.
In a recent interview with TimesofIndia.com, 2000 Sydney Olympics bronze medallist Karnam Malleswari had said that Mirabai had improved a lot since her outing in the Rio Games five years ago and that she was confident Mira would return from Tokyo with a medal. Prophetic words that were proven true on Saturday in Tokyo.