With an extraordinary performance, Renu Bala Chanu not just gave India its first gold in the weightlifting event at the Commonwealth Games but also proved her supremacy, as she left her competitors far behind, to finish on top in the women's 58-kg category at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium sports complex on Wednesday.
She lifted 197 kgs to bag the first position with ease, while her closest competitor -- the silver medallist Seen Lee of Australia finished five points behind her at 192 kgs, while Zoe Smith claimed the bronze with 188 kgs.
Having fulfilled huge expectations of her coaches, the federation, former players and countrymen, Renu Bala heaved a sigh of relief.
"I am very happy that I could win a gold medal and live up to the expectations of everyone. I would like to dedicate this medal to God, my family, the federation and my coaches," said the lifter from Manipur, who is the third athlete from the state to win a medal after Soniya Chanu (silver in women's 48 kgs) and Sandhaya Rani Devi (bronze in women 48 kgs).
Renu Bala outshone all her competitors as she smoothly lifted all the weights in both snatch and clean and jerk events before failing in her last attempt of 103 kgs in the latter category, but by then she had already pocketed the No 1 position and that did not make a difference to the final result.
And although Sean Lee of Australia tried to play catch-up, she had to be satisfied with the second position.
"I am very happy with the result as the medal came after a lot of hard work. But I would say that all my teammates have also been working equally hard, so, I am happy that I could get a gold," said Renu Bala.
The Indian lifter looked comfortable from the very beginning. She ended the snatch event with a highest lift of 90 kgs, which was also a new Commonwealth Games record.
"She not only performed according to my expectations but she did her best today," said coach Harnam Singh.
In the clean and jerk event, Renu Bala lifted 104 kgs in her very first attempt, and followed it up with a successful lift of 107 kgs to make it a total of 197.
Lee, with her successful lift of 106 in her second attempt in clean and jerk plus her 86 kgs lift in the snatch event, added up to a total of 192. In her final lift, she opted for 111 kgs to pose some challenge to Renu Bala but failed. And that automatically handed the Indian the yellow metal.
The 23-year-old Renu Bala on her part made an attempt to lift 113 kgs in her third and the final chance, which drew huge cheers and support from the home crowd but she could not lift it.
Beaming with confidence after finally bagging the gold, Harnam Singh assured that India would get more medals in the coming days in this discipline but refused to give any particular figure.
"I can assure you that we will get more medals in the coming days but cannot give you exact numbers. One thing I can tell you that we will do our best," Harnam Singh said.