‘No eating Uncle Chips or Kurkure’: CWG silver medallist Bindyarani Devi recalls lessons from ‘Didi’ Mirabai Chanu
Bindyarani Devi Sorokhaibam won a silver medal in the women's 55kg final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, missing out on gold by the narrowest of margins.
With shooting off the roster, the weightlifters led India's charge in the medal rush at the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham. The contingent won three gold and the same number of silver, while four claimed bronze to take India's tally to double digits. Out of the ten, 23-year-old Bindyarani Devi Sorokhaibam won a silver medal in the women's 55kg final, missing out on gold by the narrowest of margins.
Devi lifted a total 202kg in the final; 86kg in snatch and scripted a Games record by lifting 116kg in clean and jerk. She was beaten for gold by a margin of just one kg, which was secured by Nigeria's Adijat Adenike Olarinoye. However, the final is a closed chapter for Devi as she will soon be resuming her training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala with the focus on the 2022 World Championships to be held in Colombia in November-December.
“My focus was to win gold, it was a dream. But my opponent took a lead of one kg and won the gold medal. So I'm little upset because for one kg the gold medal went out of my hands.
“But we have the World Championships around December and then the Asian Games. So I'm training to win gold in both the competitions. We had a 10-day break after the Games and we'll have to go back to NIS on August 17," the CWG silver medallist told hindustantimes.com from her residence in Manipur over a zoom call earlier this week.
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Devi comes from the same state as Mirabai Chanu, who is only the second Indian after Karnam Malleswari to win a weightlifting medal at the Olympics. She respects Chanu as an elder sister, who has never refused the 23-year-old for any help, thus accounting for her growth in the sport.
“I love eating chips like Uncle Chips, Kurkure, so didi used to tell me if I keep eating this how will I lift? She asked me to eat as per the diet. She also helps me in training, identifying the faults in my technique, instructing me how to make my performance more clean,” she said.
In fact there is another famous story of Chanu lending shoes to Devi, when she first arrived at the premier sports institute in Patiala. “In India it is very difficult to find lifting shoes of my size even in Nike and Adidas. I wear small size 3.5, so didi (Mirabai) had given me two pairs,” she tells.
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CWG medal lands a job at Indian Railways
Despite having an impressive resume, which included a World Championship gold medal and a silver at the Commonwealth Championships in 2021, Devi was in dire need of a job to keep her Olympic aspirations alive. And now with a Commonwealth silver in her kitty, she was also happy to share the news of her appointment in the Indian Railways.
The weightlifter was felicitated by Anshul Gupta, the general manager of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) in Guwahati on Tuesday.
“We gave her three options to choose from, which is technical, ministerial, and official. She chose ministerial,” Gupta told hindustantimes.com over the phone. Asked if the department plans to award her with some cash rewards, the official confirmed that as of now no such plans has been discussed.
But the 23-year-old will receive a cash reward of ₹10 lakh as announced by the Indian Olympic Association in New Delhi on Saturday.
Devi is a SportsApp sponsored weightlifter, a platform which provides 360 degree support to athletes. “SportsApp has helped me with diet, clothes as we need skin tight clothes. They have provided me with ample support,” she said.