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Every athlete wants to win awards but can’t get it every year: Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu lifted a world record 194kg (85kg snatch and 109kg clean-and-jerk) in November, 2017 to become only the second Indian, after Karnam Malleswari, to win a world championship title.

other sports Updated: Sep 28, 2018 22:41 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mirabai Chanu,Khel Ratna,Mirabai CHanu Khel Ratna
Mirabai Chanu, who clinched gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, was awarded the country’s highest sporting honour.(File Photo)

World weightlifting champion Mirabai Chanu side-stepped the controversy that broke after she was conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, stating on Friday that honours do boost an athlete’s confidence, but are bound to come if an athlete stays focused and keeps winning medals.

Chanu, who clinched gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, was awarded the country’s highest sporting honour along with India cricket captain Virat Kohli this time. However, not all were happy with their nomination with wrestler Bajrang Punia meeting Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and even threatening to approach the court.

Asked if she was aware of the saga, Chanu told Hindustan Times: “I don’t have much idea regarding this since I had merely applied for it. The rest was done by the sports minister who went through our achievements etc. and selected us for the award.

“Every sportsperson wants to win these awards, but one can’t get one every year. I feel one shouldn’t worry about it too much and the aim should be to win more medals. If one keeps getting medals, the awards will follow.”

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Chanu was present with shooter Heena Sidhu, hockey skipper Rani Rampal and sprinter Hima Das at a promotional event.

She missed the Asian Games last month due to a back injury and will also sit out the World Championships in November. “I couldn’t participate in the Asian Games because of the injury. I’ve started my training but will miss the World Championships in November because I haven’t completely recovered. I will take part in the Asian Championships in 2019 though,” Chanu explained.

Chanu said the nature of the injury makes it difficult for her to make a comeback, but she’s aiming higher. “Although it varies in each sport, for us the lower back is so crucial… and I have an issue with the lower back itself,” she said.

“I’ve set a target of 210kg because if I can achieve that, it would guarantee me gold in each competition. I’m not too far behind, having clinched 199kg in total. I can also create records that way.”

Chanu lifted a world record 194kg (85kg snatch and 109kg clean-and-jerk) in November, 2017 to become only the second Indian, after Karnam Malleswari, to win a world championship title.

First Published: Sep 28, 2018 22:41 IST