Tingong Leima Chanu, Arjuna Awardee '01

Tingong Leima Chanu, Arjuna Awardee '01
An Interview by : Mary Touthang for e-Pao!

It has been a long wait for me to corner an outstanding sports person for my maiden interview. Friends, it's an honor to have Ms. Tingongleima Chanu share few words about her life and love "Hockey" with e-pao.

Also, she breaks the news of impending marriage publicly for the first time to e-pao. Yes, she's getting married in March to Mr. Brajamani Singh of Sagolband Khamnam Leirak, who is working in Bangalore for the Army Service Corps. Let us wish the "to-be wedded couple" the very best and May God bless them with eternal Marital bliss!

Following is the excerpts of her interview:

Ms.Tingongleima Chanu was born into the household of Kshetrimayum Tomba and Mema Devi of Sagolband Moirang Hanuba Leirak. A blessed child indeed! She's done not only her parents proud but also brought glory and fame for the state and the nation as well. Let us salute this young achiever for her "Arjuna Award, '01" and also for her trail of achievements in the field of hockey.

Playing for:
Western Railway, Mumbai.


Major Awards conferred:

  1. Arjuna Award '01
  2. Shiv Sena Award '95, Mumbai
  3. Best Sportsperson NE, Guwahati '00.

Early years:
Ms.Tingong did her schooling from Modern Higher Secondary School, Sagolband. Right since her childhood she had been a keen sports person and took active participation at her school's sports meets. She won many prizes as well. It was only by 9th Std that she started playing Hockey specifically and seriously. Her talent was noticed and SAI selected her into their fold by Feb 1991. She considers herself fortunate for this. She trained generally for physical fitness at SAI. One of her sports teacher Mr. Yaima realized her potential as a goalkeeper and encouraged her to take up the position.

The major hurdle not only she but also her teammates in Manipur faced was shortage of funds. They had to literally run from pillar to post for funds. The Leikai clubs, associations and well-wishers used to contribute and sponsor their trips for the tournaments outside the state. Her parents were also financially not well off making it difficult to get even the kits. She remembers even borrowing money on interest from moneylenders! Many a times they had to do their own train bookings and also travel without reservations. In fact, most of the time they had to forego their training just to collect funds and hence their performance outside the states used to get affected. She feels that with better funds and professional help, Manipur can discover the wealth of talented young players.

Foreign players Vs India players:
Ms.Tingong says, that the Indian team is the best team skill wise. But the foreign players has an advantage of better speed. This according to her is because they had always been trained at "Turf" surface and hence they are expert in "rolling". While the home team has been basically trained on "grass" surface and hence tend to dribble a lot which decrease their speed and is a kind of disadvantage. She feels that in order to beat the foreign teams they need to develop "Speed", which will come only after being trained only in the Turf, which is the standard surface internationally.

Her Strong points:
She says is her "Fighting Spirit" (no wonder she sailed passed all types of hurdles to be where she is today!).

Countries she has been:
U.S.A., U.K., Germany, France, Holland, Australia, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Korea, South Africa. (Phew!) and there are more to come.

Her words for the upcoming players:
Passion for the game. Sacrifice, dedication, discipline, concentration are the ingredients to excel. Success, fame and money will follow later.

Her most memorable moment:
It was the moment the Indian team won the Silver medal in the 13th Asian Games held in Bangkok. She says that "The pride and happiness that one feels when the nation's tricolor flag is hoisted among the top 3 winners is the most precious moments of my life". She plays to make her country proud and no money or material can give her that kind of satisfaction.

Landmark years:
1991: Was the year she represented the state for the Junior hockey tournament. In May the same year she got selection for the Indian Coaching camp which helped set the ball rolling (literally) for her career.

1992: Her first International debut was in the Indian Junior team, in Malaysia for the Japan Test Series.

1993: She represented India in the Senior team for the Japan Tournament. The same year, the Sr. team won the Bronze medal at the Asia Cup.

1995: She came to Mumbai and played for Western Railway, who also offered her a job.

1998: The Indian Team won the Silver Medal at the 13th Asian Games held in Bangkok. This was the first time in her career that she felt "I did it!".

2001: She received the Arjuna Award.

2002: The year she will step into a new life. Yes! She is getting married in March.

What she would like to do for Hockey in Manipur:
She would like to impart her skills and give training if any academy or a camp invites her to help new and young players.

She would like to thank the people of Manipur and to everyone (connected with her career) for their support, love and honor that they have showered on her achievements. Also she would like to thank the Sagolband United Club for giving her the support and backing she needed in her early years.

The International Tournaments/Test Series that she has represented India in:

1. 1994 - Test Series In India with Australia
2. 1994 - Test Series Australia
3. 1994 - Test Series Moscow
4. 1994 - 12th Asian Games in Hiroshima
5. 1995 - 3 Nation Tournament Delhi (India/Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan)
6. 1995 - 2nd AHF's Women Club Championship Seongam, Korea.
7. 1997 - World Cup Qualifying in Harare.
8. 1998 - Test Matches in South Africa.
9. 1998 - Test Series in Germany.
10. 1998 - 4 Nations Tournament USA
11. 1998 - 9th World Cup in Holland.
12. 1998 - 16th Common Wealth Game in Malaysia (secured 4th place).
13. 1998 - 13th Asian Games in Bangkok (Silver Medal).
14. 1999 - 4 Nations Tournament Australia.
15. 1999 - Test Series in New Zealand.
16. 1999 - 4th Asia Cup in Delhi (Silver Medal).
17. 2000 - Olympic Qualifier in England.
18. 2001 - Test Match in New Zealand.
19. 2001 - Test Match in Australia.
20. 2001 - World Cup Qualifier in France.
21. 2002 - Champion Challenge Trophy, Johanessburg (Bronze Medal).

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