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Accidental weightlifter to Olympic medallist, Mirabai Chanu’s story: Read here

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Mumbai, July 24. From failing to lift in any of her three attempts in clean & jerk at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to winning a silver medal in Tokyo, life has come a long way for Indian weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu.

Mirabai, the 26-year-old from Manipur, finished second behind China’s Hou Zihui (210kg — 94 snatch & 116 clean & jerk) with a total of 202kg (87 in snatch and 115 in clean and jerk) to win the silver medal.

Indonesia’s Aisah Windy Cantika took the bronze medal with an aggregate of 194kg.

With this, Mirabai won India’s first medal in Tokyo and became the second weightlifter from the country to clinch an Olympic medal. Karnam Malleswari had won the country’s maiden medal in the sport at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Mirabai ended a two-decade-long drought in Indian weightlifting — a time in which the sport was tarnished by several doping scandals, including at the 2004 Athens Olympics when Pratima Kumari and Sanamacha Chanu disgraced the country. Mirabai’s medal will also be a balm for a sport that has always produced champions alongside dope cheaters over the years.

An employee of the Indian Railways, Mirabai’s entry into weightlifting was accidental. At the age of 12, she had gone to the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Manipur’s capital Imphal to gone to enrol herself in archery.

The archery centre was closed and Mirabai stepped into the nearby weightlifting arena to enquire about archery. Instead, she got hooked to the sport for life as the weights and weightlifting apparatus attracted her attention. As she had built her strength lugging firewood up and down the hills, weightlifting came easily to Mirabai.

For the next few years, she would travel nearly 20 km daily from her home in Mongkok Kakching village to the state capital Imphal for weightlifting training.

Mirabai moved to Delhi once she made a mark at the national level and soon made it to the national camp.

Her first breakthrough came at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games when she won the silver medal in the 48 kg weight category.

“She is very hardworking and determined and has a strong willpower, which is evident from her comeback after the disappointment she faced in Rio de Janeiro,” says N Kunjarani Devi, a legend in Indian women’s weightlifting, who has won more than 50 international medals including silver at World Championships.

Kunjarani said that Mirabai has come up the hard way, spending years away from home struggling with limited resources.

“Manipur is a small state, not so financially rich. Mirabai comes from a middle-class family and had to struggle a lot to pursue weightlifting. Her parents and family supported her and she also took care of them once she got a job with the Railways. She also got cash awards for winning medals at the Commonwealth and Asian Games. As a Manipuri, I feel proud that a girl from my home state has won India’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics,” says Kunjarani, a senior officer with the CRPF posted in Delhi.

“Mirabai richly deserves all the accolades coming her way because she has proven that hard work always pays,” Kunjarani added.

In the last five years, Mirabai has won multiple accolades. She has been conferred upon with the Arjuna Award, was honoured with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2018, and the Padma Shri.

In 2017, she became the first Indian after Karnam Malleswari (1994) to win a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championships. In 2018, she won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. In April 2021, she set a world record in clean & jerk at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent.

But this was also the period when her struggles with injuries began, especially her shoulder and back.

In 2019, she went to the United States for a lengthy rehabilitation-cum-training camp under renowned strength and conditioning coach Dr. Aaron Horschig. Just before the Olympics, she had again flown to the United States to spend two weeks at Dr. Horschig’s academy as the injures had surfaced again and were troubling her.

While people following her career kept their fingers crossed as she flew from St. Louis to Tokyo, Mirabai had determination writ large on her face. She wanted to exorcise the ghost of the Rio Olympic Games once and for all.

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Air India goes to Tata Sons, Ratan Tata tweets, Welcome Back!

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New Delhi: Finally, Air India has gone to Tata Group which emerged the highest bidder. This was a much-awaited deal for the Government of India which wanted to sell this national career from a very long time. Welcome back, Air India, tweets Ratan Tata on Tata Sons winning the bid for Air India.
An SPV of Tata Sons – the holding company of conglomerate – has emerged as successful bidder, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) — the government department responsible for privatisation, said.

The international service was among the first public-private partnerships in India, with the government holding 49 per cent, the Tatas keeping 25 per cent and the public owning the rest. In 1953, Air India was nationalised. The government is selling 100 per cent of its stake in the state-owned national airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.

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Powerful earthquake in Japan injures 32, disrupts train services

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Tokyo, Oct 8: Authorities in Japan said on Friday that a powerful earthquake which jolted the country the previous day left 32 people injured, while also disrupting train services in the Tokyo area, affecting around 368,000 passengers in total.

The earthquake that struck the capital region at 10.41 p.m. on Thursday night reached upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in parts of Tokyo and Saitama prefecture, reports Xinhua news agency.

The last time that people in central Tokyo faced such an intense jolt was during the massive quake of March 11, 2011, which devastated northeastern Japan and triggered a tsunami and nuclear disaster.

According to East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), the strongest earthquake for the Japanese capital in a decade caused services on the Shinkansen bullet train and 16 local train lines cancelled or delayed from late night Thursday to about 3 p.m. (local time) on Friday, resulting in many late-night train passengers stranded and a commuter disruption in the morning.

JR East have resumed train services, but many passengers were forced to wait at stations due to delays.

After a train derailed in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward, one of the areas hit hardest by the temblor, the operation of the Nippori Toneri Liner, a driverless guideway transit system in Tokyo, might remain suspended for several days, according to its operator.

The Japan Transport Safety Board has sent officials to investigate the derailment.

According to a tally by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, two in Saitama Prefecture and one in Chiba Prefecture sustained severe injuries among the 32.

Around 250 houses in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward briefly experienced power outages due to the earthquake, and water stoppages and leaks were reported in central Tokyo.

The earthquake also caused 28 cases of people being trapped in elevators in Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures, but all cases have been cleared according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.

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India to showcase its art, culture, tradition and business prospect in Dubai

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Dubai: India is out to showcase to the world its arts and culture, rich history and tradition and opportunities that exist for individuals and corporates with its biggest pavilion of the 192 participating countries in the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The six-month-long Expo kicked off on October 1 with Dubai expecting a large number of visitors despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the number of daily infections now well below 200 for the past week, the city has opened itself to the world. Most of the visitors are allowed to travel with a valid negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours.

However, India is still in the category that requires a valid negative PCR test certificate (with a QR code) for a test conducted within 48 hours, and a rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure. The pavilion features a kinetic facade of 600 individual colourful blocks. The panels rotate and the facade presents a different look with each rotation, a unique representation of the country’s theme at the Expo, ‘India on the Move’.

The Indian pavilion was officially inaugurated by Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles who said the Pavilion “shows an India on the move, it describes a new India rejuvenated, reinvented and revitalised, which can convert any adversity into an opportunity”.

As the country comes out a deadly second wave of the pandemic, India is eager to make an impression on the world and the Expo is a great platform. Aman Puri, Consul-General of India in Dubai, said: “India at Expo 2020 Dubai will present a new and dynamic India with its never-ending opportunities.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given us a clarion call for action to all stakeholders to give a renewed push to boosting exports and Expo 2020 will provide an important platform in driving forward this national agenda.”

While art and culture has always been a staple of India’s exhibitions in foreign countries, there is a big push for innovation and industries in Dubai. The India Innovation Hub, a specially designed mobile platform, was recently launched. It showcases innovations by Indian startups and corporates across various cutting edge fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobility, robotics and space. As many as 15 states and eight Union Territories are taking part in the Expo, most of them displaying food, art & culture and business opportunities. Also, present and various ministries, like textile, space and energy, as well as some of the leading business houses like Tata, Reliance, L&T and Adani.

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