Mirabai lifts Indian spirits on opening day

Mirabai lifts Indian spirits on opening day

Bags gold with a record in 48kg category; Gururaja claims silver

Mirabai lifts Indian spirits on opening day

A record-smashing Mirabai Chanu and a perseverant P Gururaja claimed gold and silver respectively as weightlifters lived up to the pre-event hype and delivered opening day medals for India in the 21st Commonwealth Games here on Thursday.

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 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 said.

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.

It was a reasonably good day for India as the much-hyped shuttlers also made a winning start to their campaign, defeating Sri Lanka 5-0 in the mixed team event opener.

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 and dispatched her rival Madushika Beruelage in a mere 22 minutes during the clash.

On the squash court, Harinder Pal Sandhu and Vikram Malhotra won their respective opening matches in the men's singles event.

The table tennis players also got past their initial hurdles rather easily with the women's team event defeating Sri Lanka 3-0. The men's team also blanked Trinidad and Tobago 3-0.

But there were disappointments too as the women's hockey team lost 2-3 to Wales in its lung-opener.

In the swimming pool, Virdhawal Khade qualified for the semifinals of the men's 50m butterfly event but Sajan Prakash failed to make it.

The Indians were not much of a force on the cycling track either, finishing sixth in the women's team sprint, which ruled them out of medal contention. The men's team did even worse, finishing seventh in their event.

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