"Women Hockey was born in Manipur" : Hajarimayum Jamuna Devi
On The Golden Footprints-14

Source: Hueiyen News Service / Seram Neken

Imphal, November 14 2013: As descendants of the great forefathers who had played adventurous games such as Khong Kangjei since times immemorial, Manipuris including women could well adapt in modern Hockey.

Among the women of the country, Manipuri women were the first to take up Hockey sticks and played in the field.

'ON THE GOLDEN FOOTPRINTS' reproduces here the sports profile of one time Hockey player H.Jamuna Devi from Ratneshwori Goswami's Akao Parei Chankhrabasing published in the Huieyen Lanpao (Manipuri)

During the late 1940s, a few students of Tamphasana Girls School who took keen interests in games and sports requested the then Head Master Haobam Ibotombi to buy Hockey sticks so as to experience the game which was earlier meant for the males.

As the Head Master agreed and bought the Hockey sticks, they started playing Hockey by then.

Girl students such as Hajarimayum Jamuna, Thingbaijam Ibemhal, O.Sarojlata and Kh.

Tararani, of the school were responsible for introduction of women Hockey in Manipur.

Under the guidance of coach M.Kunjabihari, they used to practice Hockey at a small space at Nagamapal kangjabi Leirak, Imphal.

Gradually, women Hockey gained momentum in the state, as they regularly played the game at Cheirap ground and Polo ground.

Perhaps Manipur was the first place in the whole country, where women took up Hockey sticks.

Hajarimayum Jamuna Devi
Hajarimayum Jamuna Devi

In the 1951 Manipur Olympic Games held at Imphal Pologround, the first women Hockey match was played between Imphal Sporting Club and Yaiskul Town Club.

By 1952, with the emergence of two teams namely Kakhulong Youth Club and Eastern Sporting Union, Manipur had four women Hockey teams.

The first women Hockey team of Imphal Sporting Club was composed of players such as Hajarimayum Jamuna (Centre), Thingbaijam Ibemhal (Left-In), N.Momon (Half Centre), O.Sarojlata (Full Back), Kh.

Tararani (Half back), Lamabam Bani (Left Out), L.Manisangbi (Right In), L.Prabhabati (Right Out), L.Madhumati and L.Mikoi (Goal Keepers), RK Sanatombi etc.

Women Hockey players of the Kakhulong Youth Club were Leisaru Kamei, Leima Paomei, Pougairu Gangmei, Angousana Golmei, Leimatonbi Kamei, Gangguiru Kamei and others.

Hajarimayum Jamuna Devi, one of the pioneers of women Hockey in Manipur was the lone daughter and second child of H.Yaimachouba and Senjam Ningol Tombi Devi of Waheng Leikai Imphal.

Born in 1939, she lost her father at the age of 13 year, and her elder brother H.Manmohan encouraged her to join sports.

Her mother was also a sports-lover.

At the age of seven, she began to join various games at sports meet of Modhu LP School Keishampat wherein she was reading class-II.

Jamuna could earn a number of prizes in the games, as she had been in various indigenous games along with local brothers since childhood.

Kabaddi, Cock-fighting, Phibul Haabi, Kei-Yen, Seboti Kaonabi, Awa Sagol Tongbi, Khela Thugaibi etc.

were the indigenous games she had been interested in.

As a student of Tamphasana School from the year 1948, she participated in the school games and won various prizes.

As an all-rounder player, Jamuna participated in the Manipur Olympic Games in Athletic events like Shot-Put, Long Jump, Javelin and Discus Throw.

From being a player of Imphal Sporting Club in Hockey and Athletics events, she became a player of Khwai Athletics Union in 1953, where she also played Badminton.

There, she got second positions in Badminton and Shot-Put.

As a keen player, Jamuna had also to do the household works at home besides her studies.

According to the veteran women player, the domestic activities were perhaps helpful in making her body fit.

There were also lots of inconveniences, as local women came to enquire about my overt sporting activities as a girl.

Against all odds, she became a known player.

By 1955, she played under NACO Club and was adjudged second position in Badminton, first in Shot-Put and Discus throw.

Before matriculation examination, Jamuna underwent Typewriting training on the instigation of her brother and Oja Thoibi (writer).

In 1959, she became the first woman in Manipur who got diploma in Typewriting.

After matriculation, she wanted to become a pilot which her mother strongly disliked.

Thereafter, she continued her study at Imphal College.

In 1966, she joined service as Typist in the Manipur State Co-operative Bank.

In 1967, she became the Librarian in the Central Library of Education Department, as she passed the secretariat clerical examination.

Later, she was posted at the office of the Deputy Inspector of Education, Imphal east.

Married in 1970, H.Jamuna reappeared on the sports arena as a veteran player in 1981 when she participated in 10 km Walking Race in the 1st State Level Veteran Championship at Imphal Pologround.

Jamuna along two other women players N.Momon Devi and A.Tombimacha participated participated in the Marathon Sports Veteran Meet in Hong Kong in October 1982 and got three Gold Medals each.

Her Medals were in Javelin, Shot-Put and Discus Throw competitions.

Again in 1984, she took part in the International Veteran Track and Field Meet in Hong Kong where she earned one Gold medal in javelin, three Silver medals in Long Jump, Shot-Put and Discus Throw events.

Veteran player H.Jamuna won one Gold Medal in Javelin in the 7th Asian veteran Athletics Championships held in Singapore in 1992.Besides winning one Gold medal in Javelin event, she broke the Asian record in the 9th Asian veteran Championship in South Korea in 1996.Sports tour to various foreign countries as a veteran player has been great experiences to H.Jamuna Devi at the dusk of her life.

Since the very beginning, Jamuna has been experiencing tragedies due to the demise of near and dear ones.

At 13 years of age, she lost her father and later her only brother.

Her mother also did not live long.

Not only did her husband died, but also life of her lone son ended in an unfortunate accident.

She could bear all the pangs of life only because of sports which she has endeared from the childhood.

Sports has been and will ever be her life.

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