Indian weightlifter Bindyarani Devi claimed a silver medal in her debut Games at the Commonwealth 2022 at Birmingham. The 23-year-old claimed India’s fourth medal in the games in the 55kg women’s category. Devi also set the Games record in the clean and jerk by lifting 116 kgs. With this, she also matched Mirabai Chanu’s national record of 86 kg in snatch. Chanu and Devi both used to train at the same Sports Academy as Mirabai in Manipur. Devi has always looked up to Tokyo Olympic silver medallist.
In an exclusive interview with Zee News, Bindyarani Devi revealed how coach Vijay Sharma motivated her ahead of her last lift in Commonwealth Games 2022 and how she felt after being called Mirabai Chanu 2.0.
Q. How is the feeling after winning the silver medal in your very first Commonwealth Games?
A. I am very happy. This is my first ever CWG medal and it came in my debut games. This is the best performance that I have ever given. I am really happy and proud.
Q. It is not just the medal that should make you happy as you have broken many records on Sunday. Tell us about that.
A. I broke the games’ record for clean and jerk by lifting 116 kgs. I also matched the national record of 86 kg in snatch. Last year in Khelo India, Himachal, I broke the record clean and jerk. I am very happy that I am breaking all these records and making India proud.
Q. Your coach gave you a pep talk ahead of your last lift. What was that about?
A. I fought hard for gold. The Nigerian weightlifter who won gold lifted 6kg more than me. Sir and I had a conversation ahead of the last lift. He asked me to do good in clean and jerk. We discussed how can we get gold. what is the Nigerian weightlifter’s score and how can we beat her? Ahead of the last lift, my coach shouted, Go for Gold. But I felt sad as I could not win gold. I was 8kgs short.
Q. Who would you like to dedicate this medal to?
A. SAI, my federation and the Sports App. They helped me with brands, clothes and supplements, six months prior to the game. I would also like to dedicate this medal to my coaches who have helped me a lot. Also, my family and friends supported me through my ups and downs.
Q. PM Narendra Modi congratulated you after the medal win. What was your reaction to that?
A. I was really happy after watching PM Modi’s tweet. I come from a humble background, Prime Minister of the country recognising my effort is a big thing. Now the entire nation knows who Bindiyarani Devi is. I am very happy about it.
Q. Northeast is producing so many weightlifters. What do you think is the secret behind it?
A. This is the favourite question by all the people. But it is not like that, we don’t eat anything different. It is a culture building right now there is a long way to go. The other Didi’s from other states and we train together we eat together. It is god’s grace that we are winning medals. I hope this continues.
Q. You are being called Mirabai Chanu 2.0. How has she inspired you to do good in sports?
A. Didi Mira has always been an inspiration. I am very young. If I could follow the steps and do good in upcoming events and mainly Olympics. I will be very happy. I hope I will be able to do it.
Q. Who has helped you the most to grow as one of the best athletes in India?
A. My family has played a big role in my sports career. I am thankful to my father, brother, mother, sister and even my neighbours. There is a gym near my house in lockdown the entire country was shut down, and there was no place to work out but the gym owner helped me and opened the gym just for me. That was a big favour.
Q. How did Weightlighting enter your life?
A. When I was a child, I used to play Taekwondo. I had a black belt. I played internationals. I also won a medal. In every competition that I used to go to, I noticed that the other players used to be taller than me. Then I had a word with my coach about whether can I change my game. He gave me permission. I also asked my family about it. When I was young I could change the game. Then I did a bit of research and started with this sport.
Q. Your biggest inspiration from the sport?
A. Kunjarani Devi
Q. Favourite sports other than weightlifting?
Q. If not weightlifting then what?
Q. What’s Next?
Asian Games, World Championship and finally Paris Olympics. I am going for gold in all of it.