Karnam Malleswari believes that Saikhom Mirabai Chanu might be the strongest contender for a weightlifting medal within the Tokyo Olympics.
Malleswari, who was the primary Indian lady athlete ever to win a medal within the Olympics within the 2000 version, says Mirabai can properly deliver cheer to the nation, going by her efficiency sheet. “Any Olympics is not going to be easy as there is a different kind of pressure. But the feeling of representing your country in such an event supersedes everything else and often spurs you to take you to the next level,” the champion weightlifter stated in a chat with The Hindu.
“You need a little bit of luck on the day, but you can look to that only after putting in the effort,” she stated.
Looking again on her Olympics journey, Malleswari felt that if she had competed within the 1996 Atlanta Olympics — when weightlifting was launched — she would have gained gold.
“I was at the peak of my career. Honestly, I was aiming for the gold. However, it [the bronze] still stands as the greatest achievement of my career.
“To stand on the medal podium in my first Olympics is not something I will easily forget. It was truly emotional and fresh in my memory,” Malleswari stated.
“When I look back at Sydney Olympics, I sincerely feel that I missed the gold because of a miscalculation by the coach. Normally, in the final lift, heavy weights are not preferred,” she stated.
“I realised later that instead of going for 137kg and missing it, if only I had attempted either 132 or even 135 kg, I would have easily won a gold,” she stated. “Winning an Olympic medal is something to cherish forever. And, it was treated like gold back home!”
“Despite the stardom which I got after the Olympics medal, I remain the same old traditional girl for I came up the hard way, with my parents sacrificing so much,” she stated.