Interview with Indian Sepak Takraw Player Ayekpam Maipak Devi

Khuman *

 Ayekpam Maipak Devi
Photo Courtsey:- Ayekpam Maipak Devi

Ayekpam Maipak Devi is an Indian professional Sepak Takraw player. She is from Phubala Makha Leikai, Bishnupur, Manipur. She is a single daughter for her parents (Father Ayekpam Ingoba Singh and Mother Ayekpam Thoibi Devi).

She joined SSB in the year 2017. She represented the Indian Women's Sepak Takraw team in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and finally won a Bronze Medal (Regu Event). Manipur has been the "Power House of Sports" since its merger to country and out of 5 players in the Indian Women's Sepak Takraw team, 4 players are from Manipur (Meitei Chanuras).

E-pao: - First of all, we would like to congratulate you and your whole team.
Maipak: - It's my pleasure to meet you and thank you so much.

E-pao: - Please share how you started your career.
Maipak: - This is such a pretty question and I am always excited to share how I started my career. I came to know about Sepak Takraw through Brother Birjeet from Ningthoukhong. He introduced me to the game. I started playing and training at Khuman Lampak in the beginning of my career. I started playing since 2004. I did lots of vigorous training under many coaches.

I started playing National level from the year 2008 and from the year 2010 started playing international level. The journey is with full of challenges like lack of financial support, means of travelling from home to training venue etc. but I never demotivated myself, even though I faced many challenges. I always play with dedication in every match and I have a dream to achieve in this career.

 Ayekpam Maipak Devi
Photo Courtsey:- Ayekpam Maipak Devi

E-pao: - Please highlight your participations and achievements.
Maipak: -

Achievement before joining SSB

1. 20th Senior National Sepak Takraw, 2009, Delhi Silver Medal (Regu Event)
2. 34th National Games, 2011, Jharkhand Gold Medal (Team Event)
3. 22nd Senior National Sepak Takraw Championship, 2012, Cuttak Gold Medal (Team Event)
4. 23rd Senior National Sepak Takraw Championship, 2012, Hyderabad Gold Medal (Team Event & Regu Event)
5. 24th Senior National Sepak Takraw Championship, 2013, Kohima Gold Medal (Team Event & Regu Event)
6. 16th Asian Games, 2010, Guangzhou, China - Participate
7. 17th Asian Games, 2014, Incheon, Korea - Participate
8. 28th King's Cup Sepak Takraw Championship, 2013, Udonthani, Thailand Team Event (Bronze), Regu Event (Gold) and Hoop Takraw (Participate).
9. 29th King's Cup Sepak Takraw Championship, 2014, Bangkok, Thailand Team Event (Silver), Regu Event and Hoop Takraw (Participate)

Achievements after joining SSB

1. 28th Senior National Sepak Takraw Championship, 2018, Kerala Silver Medal (Regu Event) and Gold Medal (Double Event)
2. 8th Federation Cup, 2018, Chandigarh Gold Medal (Regu Event)
3. 29th Senior National Sepak Takraw Championship, 2019, Rajasthan Silver Medal (Team Event) and Bronze Medal (Regu Event)
4. 30th Senior National Sepak Takraw Championship, 2020, Jarkhand Gold Medal (Team Event) and Bronze Medal (Regu Event)
5. 31st Senior National Sepak Takraw Championship, 2021, Punjab Gold Medal (Team Event) and Bronze Medal (Regu Event)
6. 32nd Senior National Sepak Takraw Championship, 2022, West Bengal Silver Medal (Team Event) and Silver Medal (Regu Event)
7. 71st All India Police Volleyball Cluster, 2022, Punjab Gold Medal (Team Event), Gold Medal (Women Quad Event) and Silver Medal (Regu Event)
8. 32nd King's Cup Sepak Takraw World Championship, 2017, Thailand Bronze Medal (Hoop Takraw)
9. 18th Asian Games, 2018, Indonesia Participate
10. 34th King's Cup Sepak Takraw World Championship, 2019, Thailand Participate
11. Asian Sepak Takraw Championship, 2019, China Bronze Medal (Regu Event)
12. 35th King's Cup Sepak Takraw World Championship, 2022, Bangkok, Thailand Bronze Medal (Mixed Quad Event)
13. ISTAF World Cup, 2022, Daejeon City, Korea Gold Medal (Mixed Quad Event) and Bronze Medal (Women Quad Event)
14. 36th King's Cup Sepak Takraw World Championship, 2023, Thailand Bronze Medal (Quadrant Event)
15. 2022 Asian Games, Hangzhou, China Bronze Medal (Regu Event)

 Ayekpam Maipak Devi
Photo Courtsey:- Ayekpam Maipak Devi

E-pao: -The moment you won the Bronze Medal in the Asian Games 2022. How do you feel?
Maipak: - I was quite happy to know the result. Our Country "INDIA" won the first-ever medal in the 2022 Asian Games Women's Sepak Takraw. This is a historic moment for the country. And, I also feel proud to have this milestone. This achievement has proved the undying sporting spirits of Manipuris.

E-pao: -Please share us how you get ready yourself for the 2022 Asian Games participation?
Maipak: - The dream of every player is to achieve something in their career. To get selected for the 2022 Asian Games I did vigorous training and hard work. First I went to the Senior Level in Maharashtra, then Camp for around 1 month in Goa. Then, 45 Days camp in Thailand. In Delhi, around 23 Days camp for the 2022 Asian Games. Every training and camp was worthwhile and learned many things.

E-pao: -Well, Sepak Takraw is a team sport. How would you like to express playing in a team?
Maipak: - Playing in a team is very challenging and difficult. Playing in a team needs many strategies and tactics. So, we need proper communication among the team players and coordination too. It is also very important to understand our team members and giving support to one another. If I am weak in something then we need to discuss and support among the team players. Proper communication, supporting each other and full coordination are very important.

E-pao: -Maipak, we would also like to know about your daily routine.
Maipak: - Yes, to improve ourselves, we need vigorous practice. This will help us in overall development. Generally, I do practice 3 times a day, including morning P.T. exercises and play. From practice, we can develop our weaknesses and others too. Most of the time, I practice in Khuman Lampak and I am very happy to train under coaches from the state itself. When we have any questions, we can ask and discuss them freely.

E-pao: -Maipak, Whom do you credit for your success in the career so far?
Maipak: - Very true without the support from others I wouldn't be able to stand like today. I would like to thank all my family members. Our family is not financially strong but my family all the time standing for me. They are always available for anything. My family gave me full support and every member of the family contributed so many valuable things and sacrifices for me. And, I would also like to thank all my coaches namely Oja Mangichand, Oja Romi and Oja Muhindro and all the sports lovers.

E-pao: -Please share what your future plans are.
Maipak: - In the times to come I would like to share my skills and experiences to all the aspiring youths. I would dedicate my time in training them and will always available in their needs.

E-pao: -What will be your words to bring out more players from the state?
Maipak: - Our state is producing many talented players for different sports. What I would like to mention here is, please encourage youths to play sports and support them. I would like to say, that at the time of selection, players may be for training or competition, treat the players equally and advise them to be professional players. Sometimes there is likely a quota system in the selection process.

I would like to say if there is no quota system, then it would be better for many aspiring players. Always support and encourage players, whether they are winners or unable to get the medal. Support and encouragement from people are catalysts to do more in the player's career.

See a full photo gallery of Ayekpam Maipak here

* Khuman conducted this interview for sometime in October 2023
This article was webcasted on November 21 2023.

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