India looks to Chanu for medals

NEW DELHI: Weightlifter Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu is one of the brightest medal hopes for India at the 2018 Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast City, Australia from April 4-15.

The 24-year-old is no stranger to the big stage of CWG having represented India at the Glasgow edition in 2014 and acing the test with flying colours in the form of a gold in the 48kg category. However, since then, Sanjita has shifted to a new weight category — 53kg — and has already stacked up a host of impressive performances, making her a favourite to bag a gold.

Hailing from Manipur, Sanjita took an interest in the sport drawing inspiration from weight-lifting great N Kunjarani Devi.

She made headlines after winning gold at the 2009 Senior Nationals before grabbing a bronze at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in 2011. The following year, she returned from Apia, Samoa with a gold from the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships.

With a total lift of 173 kg, at the age of 20 years, Sanjita clinched gold ahead of compatriot Mirabai Chanu at the CWG 2014, missing the Games record by two kgs. Last year, she booked her ticket to Australia after taking gold in the women’s 53kg with a total lift of 195kg (85kg+110kg) at the Commonwealth Senior (men and women) Weightlifting Championships.

However, before that in August 2017, Sanjita was forced to move the Delhi High Court, filing a writ petition against the Sports Ministry after being ignored for the Arjuna Awards for the second straight year.

The ministry kept the list unchanged and Sanjita gave a stern reply with her excellent performance at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships later that year.