TODAY -

From Tokyo to Birmingham : Hailing the Golden Girl
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: August 01, 2022 -



Golden Girl. Not a flash in the pan and definitely not a fluke either.

Opening India's medal account at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, but held in 2021 with a Silver in the 49 Kg category, the diminutive but gutsy young girl Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has shown to the world that Tokyo was not a flash in the pan opening India's Gold count at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on July 30, 2022.

Top this off with the Silver effort from Sorokhaibam Bindyarani (55 Kg) and in putting India's place on the medal map of the ongoing Commonwealth Games in far away Birmingham, the two ladies in question here have also written down Manipur's name in gold!

Not drawing any comparison but if cricket in India is identified with Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, Hockey with Dhyan Chand, football with T Ao, then there is no reason why weightlifting in a country of over 130 crore population should not be identified with Mirabai Chanu, a young girl hailing from Manipur, which has a population of just about 30 lakhs or so.

A sport synonymous with an athlete who hails from a State with just about 30 lakhs in a country inhabited by over 130 crore people and this should underline the sporting prowess of Manipur.

In giving due recognition to Mirabai, it should also not be forgotten that Manipur had produced world beaters in weightlifting, including Kunjarani, Sanamacha, Kh Sanjita Chanu, Ng Soniya Chanu, Monika Devi and the list can go on.

In acknowledging the achievements of Mirabai, it would do good for the people of Manipur and particularly the Government to ensure that the sportspersons who came to the scene before the current Golden Girl, should not be reduced to a foot note, for their achievements could have gone some significant distance in firing the champion in Mirabai.

It is the spirit and the natural prowess of the athletes of Manipur that should be taken note of while acknowledging the stupendous showing of Mirabai and one hopes the success of the little girl shows the way for corporate houses to shift their focus towards Manipur and the North East.

It may be weightlifting for now, but to acknowledge the achievements of Mirabai, one would need to look beyond the discipline but look at the overall potential of the youngsters of Manipur.

Manipur being chosen as the place to set up the National Sports University is one such step taken up by the Government and this should be noted. Now that the Centre has taken the first step with the NSU here, one hopes this opens more doors for corporate houses to train their focus on the young people of the State.

More important is the question of what the Government has in plan to produce more champions, more Mirabais in the coming years.

Apart from what New Delhi comes up with, can the Government at Imphal come up with any proposal or idea to find, catch and tap the young, raw talents from a young age?

Let the stupendous showing of Mirabai and Bindyarani provide the needed impetus for more talents to be discovered, tapped and groomed to being laurels not only to India but also to Manipur.

This is what the people and the State would need, fed as they with one despairing news after the other for decades.

The sportspersons have already demonstrated that they alone are the ones who have ensured that Manipur comes to the consciousness of the country for the right reason.

For too long the State has occupied the consciousness of the country and others for all the wrong reasons, starting from days of economic blockades, bandhs and curfews, killings, stand offs between security personnel and the civilians, shortage of fuel whenever the State is cut off from the rest of the world and the country etc.

The Golden performance of Mirabai topped with the Silver show of Bindyarani has shown Manipur to the outside world for all the right reason and this is something which should be savoured.



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