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Accounting for two of the 4 won so far : Sports a culture in Manipur
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: April 07 2018 -

Saikhom Miraba Chanu  and Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu
Saikhom Miraba Chanu and Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu :: Pix - TSE



Four medals so far at the ongoing XXI Commonwealth Games at Australia and out of the four medals, two are gold, bagged by sportspersons from Manipur.

First to lay a hand on the gold medal was Saikhom Miraba Chanu (48 Kg) followed soon by Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu (53 Kg), both in weightlifting and truly Manipur has lived up to her name as the sports power house of the country.

More may be in the offing as Manipur has potential medal winners for the country in the persons of MC Mary Kom and L Sarita Devi, both in boxing.

The two are well known names and apart from the two girls who have already landed the gold medals for the country, the prospect of the others making it to the podium finish cannot be ruled out.

Significant to note too that out of the 221 athletes who have been picked for the Commonwealth Games, eight are from Manipur, in the persons of Chinglensana Kangujam, (vice captain of the menís hockey team), Shushila Chanu Pukhrambam (womenís hockey), Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting), Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu (weightlifting), MC Mary Kom (boxing), Laishram Sarita (boxing), Manorama Tongbram (cycling) and Sonali Mayanglambam (cycling).

The showing of the sportspersons from Manipur at the international level is all that more noteworthy given the fact that Manipur is a small State with just about 28 lakh people in a country whose population strength is about 132 crore.

Not surprising that then sportspersons from Manipur have contributed 50 percent of the medals won so far in the ongoing sports meet and this is something which should be worn with pride by the people of Manipur.

New Delhi too should study how to better tap the sports talent of the people here.

Sports power house and true to this billing, Manipur has been producing class players in football, hockey, boxing, weight lifting etc.

Much before the two Chanus came into the limelight, there was Kunjarani Devi who did the State proud with her good showing at different levels.

There was Sanamacha too, again in weightlifting. Before Mary Kom and Sarita came to the scene there was Ngangom Dingko Singh who identified Manipur with boxing when he won the gold at the Bangkok Asian Games in 1998.

In football too, Manipur has produced a number of who is who in Indian football and much before the Rennedy Singh and others made it to the limelight there were Kiron Khongsai, Gunabir Singh, Somatai Shaiza and others who plied their games and skills on the maidan of Kolkata and Goa.

These were the days before ISL and the I League.

Continuing with the good show put up by the boys decades earlier two home grown local teams, NEROCA FC were the runners up in the 2017-18 I League while TRAU are now playing at the 2nd Division League.

Also worth recalling that there were eight players from Manipur who represented the Indian team at the U-17 football World Cup last year.

Just how seriously the people of Manipur take sports can be gauged from the numerous local sports events that are organised all over the place at different times of the year.

It is this spirit which has transformed Yaoshang festival from the days of Aber to now local sports events.

The extremely good show put up by the two girls at the CWG should be seen in the context of how sports have become central to the lives of the people of Manipur.



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