“Spoke To A Psychologist After Failing At 2016 Rio Games”: Mirabai Chanu


India’s world record holder weightlifter Mirabai Chanu on Thursday revealed that she used to be “totally broken” after the failure at the 2016 Rio Olympics and talking to a psychologist helped her get back on target. Chanu had a disappointing outing at the 2016 Rio Games. She had failed to record a legitimate lift in any of her three attempts in clean and jerk and thus could not get an overall complete in the women’s 48kg. Talking at a virtual media interplay, facilitated by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Chanu emphasised on the need for the athletes to have access to psychologists.

“Players need psychologist a lot. Every so often we feel actually stupid, we do not feel like training or whether we get injured right through training, we feel low. At that time a psychologist helps a lot. They motivate us,” Chanu said.

“After I failed in the Rio Olympics I used to be totally broken. I had aspirations of winning a medal but I used to be not in a position to take action. So, I kept thinking ‘after working so tough why did I fail’,” she added.

The 26-year-old 2017 World Championships gold medallist said she used to be in a position to come back to her normal self after consulting a psychologist.

“There were numerous questions in my brain. Then I spoke to the psychologist at SAI. They told me it used to be my first Olympics so there used to be more pressure, expectations were actually high and these were the entire things that I had been feeling,” she said.

“I spoke to them approximately what I will do. After that slowly I used to be in a position to receive back and do mannered,” Chanu added.

The diminutive Manipuri has made a strong comeback since then, winning the gold at the 2017 World Championships and 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Earlier this month, she bagged a bronze medal at the Asian Championships while smashing the clean and jerk world record in the 49kg category. She said she has evolved as a weightlifter since the final Olympics, changing and tweaking techniques.

“There was change in training after Rio Olympics. We have worked on all my weaknesses and tried to perfect them. I was weak in clean and jerk but I have worked on it,” said Chanu, who lifted 119kg in clean and jerk to set a new world mark.

With less than three months to go for the Tokyo Games, Chanu wants to train in the United States. She used to be there final year to work with former weightlifter-turned-physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach Dr. Aaron Horschig, a stint that has benefited her immensely.

“My plan is to go to US because my shoulder feels uncomfortable at times. I have requested the TOPS and federation. It hasn’t been confirmed on account of COVID-19 at this time,” she said.

“I have seen numerous improvement after working with him. He makes me do numerous rehabilitation exercises, not just for my shoulder and back issues. It helped me focus on more than a few movements,” she explained.


Some of the major reasons why Chanu is eager to go back to the United States is to work on her shoulder issue which has been hampering her snatch.

“My shoulder gets tight now and again and that hinders my snatch. Something is missing in my snatch mastery, that’s why I am not that great. I am working on that to cause it at par with my clean and jerk,” Chanu concluded.

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