Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 11
One could sense relief in Saikhom Mirabai Chanu’s voice as she discussed her shoulder problems that have dogged her for the better part of the last two years. Countless hours of video analysis helped her zero down the problem to a biomechanical issue. Mirabai’s left shoulder was weak, and this was putting a lot of load on her right shoulder and back. After some research, a team led by Indian weightlifting coach Vijay Sharma sought the help of Dr Aaron Horschig, a famed physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach. And after only three weeks of corrective exercises and conditioning with Dr Horschig in St Louis, USA, Mirabai says she is on the mend. “There is no pain now and the load is back to 85 per cent of what I was lifting when I was fully fit,” Mirabai told The Tribune over the phone from St Louis.
“I am currently lifting 70kg to 75kg repetitions in snatch and 90-100kg repetitions in clean & jerk. I will tell you this much — I needed to give my body a full day’s rest when I was lifting the same weight in Patiala as my back muscles would get tight after the workout. Now I am training twice a day and I don’t need a day’s rest, so it is a big relief,” the 2017 world champion added.
Originally scheduled to stay in St Louis until the end of December, the trio of Mirabai, coach Sharma and physiotherapist Akrant Saxena — who have just moved into an apartment only four minutes from a training facility called the Lab Gym — have the option of extending their stay there. “We are here till December 31 for sure. There have been significant improvements so we are hopeful of returning after that… If not, we may extend our stay,” Sharma said.
‘Doing it for India’
The extended stay in the USA and being away from their families may be stressful for many, but for the weightlifter and the coaching staff, it is what they must do in order to win medals for India. “I speak to my mother almost daily. Her only concern is whether I am eating right or how well I am progressing in training,” Mirabai explained.
“Look at sir (Vijay Sharma), he doesn’t need to be here and away from his family. He is here because he believes that we can do something great together for India. We all are making individual sacrifices for the same goal,” she added.