Mary Kom to Mirabai Chanu – Manipur: The home of world-class Indian athletes
Mary Kom to Mirabai Chanu – Manipur has shown its capacity by producing some world-class athletes. India has won 9 medals in the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Athletes from Manipur clinched four out of 9. Mirabai Chanu, Bindyarani Devi, Jeremy Lalrinnunga, and Sushila Devi Likmabam all hail from this northeastern state.
Manipur – A hub for producing top athletes – Why?
Local culture and support
Various indigenous games are played with cultural values attached to them in Manipur. Manipur’s Munka Kangjei combines modern-day hockey and rugby. Manipur’s Lai Haraoba festival invites people to play “Munka”. Munka is a form of modern-day wrestling. This increased the number of private and public institutions. These institutions teach such games.
Mirabai Chanu mentioned in several interviews about Umang Lai. This is an annual festival. All children take part in this. It is celebrated by enjoying sports like athletics, football, and foot hockey.
Manipur owns a culture of clubs. They organize all kinds of sports and cultural events at the micro level according to retired Lt Gen Kamal Jit Singh. He is a veteran who has served in Manipur. These clubs play a big role in teaching sports. The clubs teach the importance of the games. These clubs are often voluntarily funded. Manipur’s craze for sports overshadows the lack of infrastructure it has.
Less gender discrimination
Gender discrimination is not zero in Manipur. But it is very low compared to other Indian states. Sports clubs don’t show differentiation between men and women. Equal space and infrastructure are provided to all.
The Economic Survey of Manipur 2020-21 states the unemployment rate in the age group of 15 to 24 is around 44.4 percent. Experts believe a good employment rate is due to sports. They play not only for the clubs but also to secure good government jobs.
Manipur thrives on sticky rice as its staple food. Sticky rice is a great source of protein. It is beneficial for people to play sports.
All these reasons cover the lack of basic infrastructure in Manipur. These help the state produce world-class sportspersons.
The often-forgotten Manipur shines bright on India’s map. It is the flagbearer for producing world-class champions.
Manipur – Olympics Records
Ngangom Dingko and Soubam Suresh played for India in the 2000 Olympics. MC Marry Kom and Laishram Devendro displayed their talents in the Olympics of 2012. Mary Kom won a bronze medal. She set a record. Kom became the first Manipuri to win a medal in the Olympics.
Kom is the six-time world champion. She is an Olympic bronze medalist.
Thingbaijam Sanamacha participated in the weightlifting event for women’s 53 kg. Nameirakpam Kunjarani participated in the weightlifting event for women’s 48 kg. They together represented India in the 2004 Olympics. Kunjarani bagged fourth place. Ngangbam Sonia participated in the women’s 48 kg category at the 2012 Olympics.
Mirabai registered India’s maiden victory in its history. Chanu went on to acquire a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Mirabai Chanu comes from a village near Imphal. She is one of the best weightlifters in her 49 kg category.
She attained a world championship. She has a world record in one of the Olympics lifts, the clean & jerk.
Lourembam Brojeshori is the first Indian woman to participate in Judo in the Olympics. She took part in the Olympics of 2000. Khumujam Tombi took part in the 2008 Olympics.
For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Sushila was the only Indian who qualified for the Judo event.
Laishram Bombayla is the only archer from Manipur to participate in the Olympics. She took part in the 2008 Olympics. She participated in individual as well as team events. She appeared in the Olympics of 2012 and 2016.
She is also the only Manipuri to participate in the Olympics for three consecutive times.
Pukhrambam Sushila Chanu led India’s women’s hockey in the Olympics in 2016.
Nilakanta Sharma is a midfielder for India’s men’s hockey team. He was in the Indian squad in 2016. They won the Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup that year.
Manipur is the place of birth for Polo. Sagol Kangjei literally means hockey played on the horse. The Imphal Polo Ground is considered one of the oldest in the world.
Polo is an egalitarian game in Manipur. Every family has a pony.
Manipur has produced numerous women professional polo players. The state represents two-thirds of all women polo players in India. Manipuri women challenged the stereotype that polo is a sport for men.
The state shines nationally. On the international front, Bala Devi received the No 10 jersey in the Scottish League.
The Indian Soccer League consists of 43 Manipuri players. They play for different football clubs in the country. This number is the highest for any state.