A record-smashing Mirabai Chanu and a perseverant P Gururaja claimed gold and silver respectively as weightlifters lived up to the pre-event hype by delivering opening-day medals for India while star badminton players added to the cheer by making a winning start in the 21st Commonwealth Games. Chanu smashed the Games records in 48kg category snatch, clean and jerk and overall en route her gold-medal winning performance, which fetched her a thunderous applause from the Australian fans, who queued up to take her autograph after the medal ceremony. Chanu managed to lift 196kg (86kg+110kg) in a remarkable effort.
“I was not expecting to break records but I certainly wanted to break them when I came here. I can’t put in words, how it feels right now,” an exhausted but jubilant Chanu told PTI.
Earlier, Gururaja survived a few anxious moments after two failed attempts in clean and jerk to claim a silver medal.
The 25-year-old son of a truck driver equalled his personal best of 249kg (111kg+138kg) to finish second in the event and ensure that India woke up to the news of a medal on the very first day of competitions.
“After I failed the first two attempts, my coach reminded me how much my life depends on this. I remembered my family and my country,” he said when asked what went through his mind in those nervy moments.
M Raja (62kg) was the third weightlifter in contention today but he lost out to much superior competition and finished sixth overall with a total effort of 266kg (116kg+150kg).
Weightlifting was not the only reason why India could boast of a good opening day. The much-hyped shuttlers also made a winning start to their campaign, defeating Sri Lanka and Pakistan 5-0 respectively in the mixed team event matches.
Saina Nehwal, who was making headlines for her ferocity in getting Games Village accreditation for her father, brought quite a lot of it on court as well and dispatched her rival Madushika Beruelage in a mere 22 minutes.
She was later in action against Pakistan as well and was her usual clinical self against Mahoor Shahzad, claiming a straight-game triumph in 26 minutes to ensure that India had a winning day to celebrate.
Veteran Manoj Kumar (69kg) was the lone boxer in action today and the 2010 CWG gold-medallist hammered Nigeria’s Osita Umeh to move into the pre-quarterfinals. The former Asian medallist won on a unanimous decision.