For Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, the upcoming Asian weightlifting championship starting April 18 will be more than just an international competition. Also Read - SAI Sanctions Rs 40 Lakh For Mirabai Chanu's Two-Month Training Programme in USA

For her, the Ningbo (China) meet will be yet another attempt to break the shackles of pain, which have often come as a speed-breaker in her career. Also Read - Current Indian Hockey Team Has World-class Backline: V R Raghunath

“I have set myself few goals for the Asian championship, the biggest being the attempt to lift 200-kg plus. In the recent past, I have been doing it in training under coach Vijay Sharma in Patiala and there is no reason why I won’t be able to do it in China. That could a turning point in my career,” Mirabai told IANS. Also Read - Indian Weightlifting Federation Halts Usage of China-made Equipment Due to Defects

Originally a lifter in the 48-kg category, Mirabai shifted to the 49-kg section after the international body decided to rejig the weight categories in both men’s and women’s competition for the Olympics and other world-level meets. The Manipur girl now hopes to win a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the new category.

A world champion in 2017 in Anaheim, USA, the 24-year-old is already a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and the Padma Shri. But luck had not been on her side always — an injury in May 2018 saw her being sidelined for eight months.

“I have fully recovered from that injury, but I vividly remember those depressing days. When I was injured and going through the rehabilitation period, I used to sit alone and cry. Nothing was going right for me, the recovery was slow. I did not know whether I would ever make a comeback.

“Sitting in my room, I could hear the sound of other lifters training and my eyes used to be full of tears. Thankfully, my coach Vijay Sharma and my family stood firm behind me. Otherwise, I would not have been lifting again,” said Mirabai.

“Disappointments have struck me often but I have always overcome them. In 2016 Rio Olympics, I knew I was good enough to win a medal, but I failed. I won’t commit the same mistake in Tokyo after I qualify for it,” she added.

Her personal best in the 48-kg category came in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast when she lifted 196-kg to win the gold. Mirabai thinks the Asian meet will be her next step to achieve the bigger goal.

“The China meet will be extremely tough, but I am confident. Due to rearrangement of weight categories, several lifters from 53-kg have also joined the 49-kg category. If you look at the world championship results, you will find that a 200-kg plus lift is must for anyone who is hoping to win a medal.

“Given the standard of competition, Asian championship is like a world meet. Lifters from China, Thailand and Korea will be my biggest competitors. But I am not afraid. The gold medal I won in the EGAT Cup in Thailand a couple of months back has added to my confidence. A good performance and a podium finish will be my aim when I board the flight to China,” said Mirabai.