Sopita Tanasan of Thailand smiled her way to gold medal in the Women’s Weightlifting 48 kg category at the 2016 Rio Olympics while Indian athlete Mirabai Chanu returned empty handed following a poor showing in the Clean and Jerk section. Tanasan was miles ahead of her opponents as she lifted 92 kg in the Snatch section and then folllowed it up with a 108 kg in the Clean and Jerk. The silver and bronze medals went to Sri Wahyuni Agustiani of Indonesia (192 kg) and Hiromi Miyake of Japan (188 kg).
Mirabai Chanu went into this event as India’s last hope of a medal on Day 1 of the 2016 Rio Olympics, which was a major disappointment in every conceivable manner. After Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna were knocked out in the first round, India’s best medal hope, Jitu Rai, was not able to keep his composure in the Men’s shooting 10m Air Pistol final. Jitu Rai firing a blank was a huge let down for India, especially after he managed a stunning comeback to make it to the final.
Add to that the ouster of Table Tennis trio of Mouma Das, Manika Batra and Soumyajit Ghosh along with the exit of shooters Ayonika Paul and Apurvi Chandela, all eyes were on Chanu to open India’s account at the 2016 Rio Games. Furthermore, going up against 11 opponents and coming into the event in good form, Chanu’s chances of getting a medal were good.
With opponents like Hiromi Miyake, Iulia Paratova and Sopita Tanasan, Chanu had to bring her A game to the arena. Zhanyl Okoeva started proceedings with successfully attempting 68 kg and 72 kg lifts but stuttered while lifting 75 kg bar. Roilya Ranaivosoa from Mauritius attempted a 73 kg to lift to begin with but got three red lights while trying to conquer the 78 kg bar. Her third lift, however, brought her back as she managed to lift 81 kg with a wonderful attempt.
Mirabai Chanu came on with a lot of confidence in her body language and looked in her zone. Her first attempt, an 82 kg bar, did not end well as she lost her footing but redeemed herself with an excellent lift in the next one. She decided to attempt an 84 kg lift in the third lift but it proved to be too much for her and was not able to surpass her personal best.
The Snatch section ended with Chanu in sixth position while the top three spots went to Sopita Tanasan from Thailand (92 kg), Sri Wahyuni Agustiani from Indonesia (85 kg) and Beatriz Elizabeth Piron Candelario from Dominican Republic (85 kg). A stunning performance from Tanasan ensured that she went into the Clean and Jerk round with an advantage of seven kilos, thereby almost ensuring the gold medal.
Things started off well for Roilya Ranaivosoa (93 kg) and Zhanyl Okoeva (92 kg) in the Clean and Jerk section as they were successful in their attempts. Iuliia Paratova failed with a 95 kg attempt at first but managed it the second time to take her overall total to 179 kg with one attempt remaining. Okoeva, growin in confidence, delivered a 97 kg lift in the second try to better her total (169 kg) while Ranaivosoa was unsuccessful in her attempt to lift 98 kg, thereby reducing her chances of a medal significantly.
Morghan Whitney King successfully lifted 100 kgs in her first lift to take her total to 183 kg on the night. Chen Wei-Ling saw two of her three attempts disqualified by the referee but ended up with a successful 100 kg lift in the third try, her total for the night stood at 181 kg. Medal contender Beatriz Elizabeth Piron Candelario started off the Clean and Jerk section brightly by succsessfully lifting 102 kgs.
Mirabai Chanu’s Clean and Jerk began with a failed 104 kg attempt as she lost her body balance, which resulted in her dropping the bar. Her lift was followed by a 105 kg attempt from Miyake and she showed her experience to overturn a rough night, taking the total to 186 kg. Beatriz Elizabeth Piron Candelario ended her night with a failed 105 kg try but she scored 187 kg.
Sopita Tanasan continued the Clean and Jerk from where she had left off in the Snatch section with a successful 106 kg attempt. Mirabai decided to attempt a 106 kg lift in the second try but it proved to be too much for her. Margarita Yelisseyeva successfully lifted 106 kg after Mirabai and she went into a medal position. The night ended sorely for Mirabai after that as she was not able to lift 106 kg for the third time. Tanasan ended with an unsuccessful 110 kg attempt but she had virtually won the gold medal.
Sri Wahyuni Agustiani had a low chance of winning the gold medal but she went for it nevertheless to attempt a 115 kg lift. It proved to be too much for her and she had to content with a silver medal. Hiromi Miyake‘s experience and stunning 107 kg Clean and Jerk lift ensured a bronze medal for her.