Kunjurani Devi advises lifters to avoid thinking of medal

Olympic weightlifter, Nameirakpam Kunjarani Devi (44) wants the current Indian weightlifting contingent comprising Katula Ravi Kumar (69 kg in men) and Ngangbam Soniya Chanu (48kg in women) to give their best shot without thinking about the results at the London Games.

“I just want both of them to go and give it their best shot. I met them at Patiala just before they left for London and shared my experience with them. If an athlete has performed to the best of his/her ability and with a bit of luck, results will follow.

Kunjarani Devi during the 48kg final at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Pic/Getty Images

But if they bother too much about winning a medal, they might just bow out of the competition earlier than expected,” Kunjarani told MiD DAY from New Delhi yesterday.

Kunjarani finished fourth in the women’s flyweight category, behind gold medalist Nurcan Taylan of Turkey, silver winner Li Zhuo of China and Thai Aree Wiratthaworn who won the bronze at the 2004 Athens Games.

The Arjuna awardee rued her luck at Athens. “I could have easily won a medal, but that day was not mine. In the finals, under pressure of winning a medal in the second and third lift, I fell down and hence finished fourth,” said Kunjarani, who has won three gold, 31 silver and 12 bronze medals in other international meets. She won a gold medal (48 kg) at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne with a Games record of an overall lift of 166 kg, which included 72 kg in snatch and 94 kg in the clean and jerk.

The Rathore lift
Kunjarani, however, had a great time in the Olympic Village at Athens.

“Olympics was completely different though I had already participated in the Commonwealth and Asian Games before. I got a chance to see American sprinter Justin Gatlin win the gold in 100m. But my proudest moment is celebrating Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver medal in shooting. Though I couldn’t win a medal, his win gave us confidence that we can come back stronger in the next Games,” said Devi, who is employed with the Central Reserve Police force in Bangalore as the Assistant Commandant.  

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