Surely it’s only a matter of time until another female Indian wins an Olympic weightlifting medal.
Indian women weightlifters are slowly proving themselves to be very much equal to their male counterparts.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, Scotland, Indian women weightlifters won six of India’s total 64 medals.
Weightlifting proved to be one of India’s favourite sports in the competition as male and female athletes won 14 medals.
Only India’s shooting team could better that medal haul – winning 17 medals for their country at Glasgow 2014.
So, with weightlifting proving to be a popular sport among Indians, who are the best Indian women weightlifters?
Ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, DESIblitz brings you some of the Indian women weightlifters who could make India proud. But first, where did it all begin for Indian women in weightlifting?
Inspiring Indian Women Weightlifters
The sensational rise of Indian women weightlifters dates back to the year 2000, in Sydney, Australia.
After lifting an incredible 240kg in the Women’s 69kg category, Karnam Malleswari won a bronze medal at the 2000 Australia Summer Olympics – making her India’s first ever female Olympic medallist.
To date, she is still the only female Indian weightlifter to win an Olympic medal.
For her outstanding sporting achievements, Malleswari, from Andhra, was given an Arjuna Award by the Indian Government.
Another female Indian weightlifter to win an Arjuna Award is Kunjarani Devi. Born in 1968, she is an early pioneer for Indian women weightlifters.
Although Devi was unable to win an Olympic medal, she dominated the sport at a national level, winning many medals.
But, who are the best Indian women weightlifters in 2017? And can any of them follow Karnam Malleswari’s example by winning an Olympic medal?
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu was the only female Indian weightlifter to be a part of the 2016 Indian Olympic Team.
She went to Brazil as a silver medal winner in the Women’s-48kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Unfortunately, though, Chanu was unable to make her mark on the Rio Olympics as she failed to finish the event.
But going to an Olympic Games as a 21-year-old is a hugely difficult task. Now 23, Mirabai, from Manipur, should be approaching her peak mental and physical condition.
With the 2018 Commonwealth Games fast approaching, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has another chance to establish herself as one of the best Indian women weightlifters.
Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu
Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu (right) and Mirabai (left) together claimed a 1-2 finish in the Women’s-48kg category at Glasgow 2014.
Sanjita Chanu, also from Manipur, just about beat Mirabai to the gold medal in the event. She was the only one of the Indian women weightlifters to win a gold medal at the competition.
Her total lift of 173kg is only 2kg short of a Commonwealth Games record, which Augustina Nwaokolo currently holds.
With such strength, Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu is surely going to enjoy another successful Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Despite coming third in the Women’s-53kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Santoshi Matsa won a silver medal.
This is because the gold medal winner, Nigeria’s Chika Amalaha, was disqualified for failing a drugs test.
With Amalaha’s disqualification, Matsa saw her final finish rise from third to second. Can she go one step further in 2018 by winning a gold medal in her category?
Another one of the Indian women weightlifters to benefit from Chika Amalaha’s disqualification is Swati Singh.
The 29-year-old, from Uttar Pradesh, originally came in fourth position, just missing out on a medal.
But with Amalaha removed from the rankings, Swati Singh went up to third place, winning herself a bronze medal.
Swati will surely be training hard to ensure she finishes as an automatic medal winner for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Another 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner is the young Punam Yadav. She won bronze in the Women’s-63kg event in Glasgow, Scotland, and will be hoping to repeat it in Australia, 2018.
Yadav, also from Uttar Pradesh, is still only 22-years-old and has plenty of time to become one of the best Indian women weightlifters.
The last of the Indian women weightlifters to win a medal at Glasgow 2014 is Sakina Khatun.
From Bangalore, the 29-year-old won a bronze medal in the Women’s-61kg weightlifting category.
Will Khatun be able to win another Commonwealth Games medal in 2018?
Kavita Devi is the first Indian woman to feature in WWE, recently making her debut in a salwar kameez.
But before her venture into WWE, Kavita Devi was one of India’s top female weightlifters. At the recent 2016 South Asian Games, Devi won gold in the 75kg category.
Indian Women Weightlifters in 2018
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place in Queensland, Australia, and is being nicknamed Gold Coast 2018.
After winning 6 medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, can the Indian women weightlifters do it again?
Vandna Gupta and Meena Kumari came agonisingly close to winning Commonwealth medals in 2014, coming fourth and fifth, respectively. They will be just as motivated to do well in the 2018 Games as the other Indian women weightlifters who travel to Australia.
India will once again be one of 70 participating nations competing in 275 events across 18 sports.
And after coming fifth behind England, Australia, Canada, and Scotland in 2014, can India and their Indian women weightlifters improve?
Surely it’s only a matter of time until Indian women weightlifters follow on from Karnam Malleswari and win an Olympic weightlifting medal. But the question is, how much longer do we have to wait?
India’s female weightlifters have their next chance to win an Olympic medal in Tokyo, 2020.