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Commonwealth Games 2018: Live Blog, Day 1
This is Saikhom’s second CWG medal following the silver she won in Glasgow four years ago, and was highlighted by a CWG and personal best lift of 86kg in the snatch category – all in the span of six minutes – and 110kg in the clean & jerk.
Gururaja claims silver in men’s 56kg weightlifting
Her achievements went well past the CWG record of 175kg set by Nigeria’s Augustina Nwaokolo in Delhi in 2010.
Saikhom, who in February was crowned Weightlifter of the Year award at the Mahindra Scorpio Times of India Awards (TOISA) for her gold medal winning lift at last year’s World Weightlifting Championships, began with a CWG record lift of 81kg and then improved that to 84kg and finally 86kg, which surpassed her personal best of 85kg that had been recorded at last year’s World Championships.
This put Saikhom 10kgs ahead of the next competitor and saw her advance to the clean & jerk at first place. In this category, where at 103 her entry weight was considerably higher than others, Saikhom recorded lifts of 103, 107 and 110 to clear the competition by a long margin. Marie Ranaivosoa of Mauritius claimed silver with a total lift of 170kg (76 in snatch and 94 in clean & jerk) and bronze went to Sri Lanka’s Dinusha Gomes with a total lift of 155 (70 in snatch, 85 in clean & jerk).
Saikhom’s amazing performance came hours after fellow weightlifter Gururaja opened India’s account at the Gold Coast Games with a silver in the men’s 56kg event.
The 23-year-old Indian lifter – who works as a senior ticket checker with the Indian Railways – had qualified for the CWG with a national record lift of 194kg that won her gold at the World Weightlifting Championships, becoming just the second Indian since Karnaman Malleswari 22 years ago to do so.
Born in Imphal East, Manipur, Saikhom took up weightlifting in 2007 after being inspired by another pioneer of Indian weightlifting, Kunjarani Devi. It did not take much time for the young girl to make heads turn as she won gold in junior levels at the South Asian Junior Games and the 2011 International Youth Championship.
Her first major success at the international level came at the 2014 CWG, when she finished behind her team-mate Sanjita Chanu to take home a silver medal. This was followed by gold at the 2016 South Asian Games and the 2017 Commonwealth Championship.
Saikhom has widely been hailed as the successor to India’s first individual woman medalist at the Olympic Games, Malleshwari. This sensational record-setting performance at Gold Coast has enchanted her reputation multifold.