New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) Winning two Commonwealth Games (CWG) titles by age 24, that too in different weight categories and with CWG records is no easy task. But weightlifter Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu is no ordinary athlete.
The Manipur star won gold in the women’s 53 kg category at the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG) in the Australian city of Gold Coast on Friday.
She lifted a total of 192 kg which included a CWG record of 84 kg in the snatch and 108 kg in clean and jerk. Defending champion Loa Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea was a distant second with 182 kg while New Zealand’s Rachel Leblanc-Bazinet took bronze with 181 kg.
Meanwhile, Sanjita’s elated parents in Imphal said she had always been a sports fan since her childhood.
“Being a poor family, we could hardly provide Sanjita a nutritious meal. Time and again she asked if she should give up her dream of pursuing sports. But I always encouraged her to continue doing what she loves,” says Sanjita’s mother K. Tekon Leima.
Even though Sanjita, who took up the sport in 2006, became an international player, the Manipur government had only offered her the post of a police constable.
Her parents deemed the move as humiliation. She is currently working with the Indian Railways.
“We would like the Manipur government to provide her with a better job as she has brought home international laurels,” her parents said.
After Sanjita’s win on Friday, a large number of people assembled at her tin-roofed mudhouse in Imphal’s Kakwa locality to celebrate.
Sanjita’s triumph adds to the formidable legacy that Indian — and Manipuri — weightlifters have built up at the CWG.
This was India’s second gold at this year’s CWG. Fellow Manipuri weightlifter Mirabai Chanu had won gold with spectacular record breaking attempts in the women’s 48 kg on Thursday.
It was also the second CWG gold of Sanjita’s career. She had won the 48 kg title at the Glasgow Games in 2014, setting a new CWG record in the snatch along the way.
Sanjita’s winning total of 173 kg had missed the then CWG record — set by Nigeria’s Augustina Nkem Nwaokolo at the 2010 Delhi Games — by two kilograms.
Sanjita had however equalled Nwaokolo’s CWG record in the snatch with an effort of 77 kg.
However, Sanjita had run into controversy last year when she approached the courts after not being included in the list of recipients for the Arjun Award.
However, she was still not given the prestigious award despite her legal challenge.