TODAY -
State lad conquers Mount Everest
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, May 26: True to the sporting potential and dormant iron will-power of the Manipuris, a man from this poverty stricken State but rich in sporting talents has finally conquered the world highest peak Mt Everest.

May 22 (7.10 am), 2008 will remain a red-lettered in the history of Manipur for it was on this day, Nongmaithem Suraj stood atop the Mt Everest.

Together with nine other climbers including two women, Suraj was a member of the army team named Snow Lions who successfully scaled the highest peak.

Creating history on May 22 by scaling the Everest, the team reached their base camp in Nepal on May 24 .

The team left for New Delhi on March from Nepal border and set on the challenging mission from May 18.Now 37 year old, Nongmaithem Suraj is an employee of the Central Government and is a resident of Palace Compound here.

This rare feat has earned him the title of being the first man from the whole North East region excepting Sikkim which was clubbed together with the region much later to conquer the world's highest peak which stands at 29,028 feet.

About 15 years back, a Manipuri woman G Anita had to turn back dejected while she was just 72 metres below the Mt Everest.

Unfavourable weather forced Anita and her team to make a descent robbing off them a historic achievement.

Though left orphan at a young age, Nongmaithem Suraj was brought under the watchful eyes of her aunt Kullabati with the care and love of a parent.

In fact, Kullabati has been the guiding spirit behind this great achiever.

"Though we were quite disturbed and worried when he decided to join the mission of to conquer Mt Everest, I dare not belie his aspiration.

Knowing well his aspiration, I blessed him and encouraged Suraj to embark on his mission", conveyed Kullabati with a tinge of pride in her voice.

"Tears of joy rolled down my eyes, when I heard him his voice calling from the base camp telling me about the team's historic achievement", she said.

All the family members are rejoicing as Suraj has done proud not only for the family but for Manipur, Kullabati stated.

Following the death of Nongmaithem Suraj's mother Khumanleima in 1984, his father Jamini passed away in a road mishap 15 years later, Kullabati shouldered the responsibility of bringing up young Suraj and his younger sister.

Strangely, Suraj took to mountaineering only in 2001 when he joined his service in Sikkim.

The landscape and environment of Sikkim fuelled the mountaineering enthusiasm of Suraj, said his aunt.

Nongmaithem Suraj took the marriage vow with Geetarani on February 13 this year before he joined an advance training course ahead of the mission to conquer Mt Everest.


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