In 2023, Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu faced a challenging year marked by a series of injuries, including those to her back, shoulder, thigh, wrist, and hip. Despite the setbacks, the Olympic medalist remains focused on her goal of securing a podium spot at the Paris Olympics.
While other Indian athletes took the year to recover and rediscover their form, Mirabai’s coach, Vijay Sharma, candidly describes the year as “very bad.” Mirabai, known for her resilience, spent considerable time on the surgeon’s table and with a psychologist, grappling with both physical and mental challenges.
During the past year, Mirabai participated in just two weightlifting events, facing injuries that tested her both physically and mentally. The injuries, including wrist, shoulder, back, hip, and thigh issues, prompted a global quest for solutions, leading her to physiotherapy in the United States and surgery in Mumbai.
Mirabai’s intense training routine, lifting what her coach humorously refers to as “one truckload” of weight nearly every day, took a toll on her body. Despite her exceptional strength, she faced a myriad of injuries evaluated by physiotherapist Aaron Horschig in 2020.
Dr. Dinshaw Pardiwala, entrusted by India’s top athletes for recovery, notes Mirabai’s exceptional load-bearing capacity but emphasizes the delicate balance required. A series of injuries, including a torn rotator cuff in the shoulder, hindered Mirabai’s training but won’t require surgery.
Mirabai, having already qualified for the Paris Olympics with a total lift of 200kg, enjoys the luxury of focusing on rehab. Coach Sharma acknowledges the lessons learned during the challenging year, emphasizing the importance of careful training. The duo sets a target of 207kg, aiming to defend Mirabai’s silver medal against formidable Chinese competitors at the upcoming Olympics.