Gold after more than two decades Sports Powerhouse tag

Gold at the World Weighlifting Championships after more than two decades. More than two decades and this means a child born back in 1995 will today be a 22 year old youth, studying in college or university. That is the time it has taken for India to win a gold at the World Weightlifting Championships and fittingly the gold was jerked, snatched and lifted by Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, once again underlining the fact that Manipur is indeed the sports powerhouse of the country. A State with a population of only about 27 lakhs outperforming other countries and competitors and this is where the beauty of her gold medal haul becomes all that more meaningful. In landing the gold, Mirabai Chanu has again underlined the fact that Manipur with just about 27 lakh population can produce a world champion, which no other State, with much bigger population, has been able to do. Fits the script of a fairy tale, indeed, but then again, she is not the first to do the State proud, for remember 8 players from Manipur represented the country in the recently concluded FIFA U-17 World Cup hosted by India. In winning the gold, Mirabai is also following the footsteps of Mary Kom, the champion boxer who won a bronze at the London Olympics, Laishram Sarita who bagged the bronze at the Incheon Asian Games in 2014, Dingko Singh who won the gold at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, all underlining the fact that Manipur is indeed a champion State. This is not all for there are a number of young players from Manipur who are plying their trade with the big clubs in the Indian Soccer League and I-League and what makes this all that more notable and yes laudable is the fact that these players have emerged not because of but despite the social-political reality here.
So from Karnam Malleshwari to Mirabai Chanu and in between there have been Kunjarani, Sanamacha and in the 2016 Rio Olympics, it was a girl from Manipur, Shushila who led the women hockey team of India. These are some names which come to mind immediately but all highlighting the point that when it comes to sports, Manipur is second to none. And remember all these young boys and girls, who have brought laurels to the State and the country, do not have the comfort or the opportunities of big corporate houses sponsoring them during their initial foray into the world of sports. Judging from the manner in which President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mirabai Chanu, it may be taken that the sports prowess of Manipur has been taken note of, but the interesting question is whether big, corporate houses are willing to come here and invest to tap more talent. No wonder the story ‘From Nobap to real Football’ continues to have such a bearing on everyone’s consciousness. The Sports University for which Manipur has been chosen should certainly go a long way in honing young talents and giving them the right exposure so that they may compete with the best and in the process give more teeth to their competitiveness. The Sports University will also help all to approach the different sports disciplines more scientifically for now sports science is what gives the competitiveness edge to all.


Add Comment