Former Olympic medallist weightlifter Karnam Malleswari Thursday heaped praise on Mirabai Chanu and expressed hope the Manipuri athlete would do well at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Malleswari said Chanu is the best weightlifter in her category.
Chanu had won gold in the 48-kg category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia.
“Comparison between Mirabai Chanu and me is not possible since we both were in different weight categories. Performance-wise, she is the best in her category.
“Recently she performed really well in the Commonwealth Games, winning gold and after 24 years, and she became the world champion after me.
“So there is no doubt that she has done well. I pray to God that she does well and is fit for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” Malleswari told reporters here.
Malleswari, the first Indian woman to win an Olympic individual medal, spoke on the sidelines of The Times of India Global Sports and Business Show here.
The former weightlifter, who now runs her own foundation in Haryana, admitted the government support for athletes has increased for weightlifters, but rued that the performances haven’t been matching.
“Now the government is very helpful. Back in our days, even if the medal was assured, the government would seldom help us financially and we never knew if we’d be able to go or not (to participate in an overseas competition).
“Now the situation is reversed. If there is a competition, athletes are sent three months in advance to get comfortable with the environment, food and practice,” she remarked.
Malleswari (43) further explained her point about performance not having improved by saying that after her achievement in 2000, India hasn’t got any medals in weightlifting at the Olympics.
“While there is plenty of change when it comes to support from the government, the performances havent really changed.
“It’s been 18 years since my Olympic record and it is yet to broken. My records over the past 25-30 years have yet to be broken,” she lamented.