GLASGOW: The weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games got off to a dramatic start when Indian teen Mirabai Chanu Saikom was red carded after what she thought had been a final winning lift in the women’s 48kg category.
The decision handed gold to 20-year-old team-mate Sanjita Khumukcham, who had earlier equalled the Commonwealth Games record with 77kg in the snatch and put the pressure on Chanu Saikom with a 96kg final lift in the clean and jerk.
Chanu Saikom’s following final effort of 98kg left her screaming with joy and leaping into the arms of her coach, before seeing that two of the three judges had ruled out her attempt, deeming her not to be in control of the bar.
“We had no problem with the judges’ decision. They are doing their jobs and we are doing ours,” said Hansa Sharma, coach to both gold medallist Khumukcham and Chanu Saikhom.
Khumukcham added: “I’m so happy to claim India’s first medal at the Games. I don’t feel like eating anything.”
Chanu Saikhom admitted to feeling emotional after her final effort was red carded.
“I was so disappointed that the last lift was no good, that’s why I cried,” she said.
Nigeria’s Nkechi Opara took bronze with 162kg.
India claimed another gold later Thursday when Sukhen Dey won the men’s 56kg, teammate Ganesh Mali claiming bronze behind Malaysia’s Zulhelmi Md Pisol. It is a category India have dominated, winning 12 medals in the men’s 56kg, the most for a Commonwealth association in a specific weightlifting event. Dey managed a best of 248kg, with Pisol heaving 245 and Mali 244.
For Pisol, the medal was a telling moment given the recent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 with 298 people on board over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine in as-yet unexplained circumstances.
“I’m very, very happy. I’m giving this medal to my family and my nation. My nation is sad and I dedicate this medal to them,” he said.AFP