KAKCHING, Aug 30 : Want to turn pro but my future is uncertain looking at the current financial situation of the family, said MMA champion Dinesh Naorem from Kakching Sumak Leikai Yotsungbam Makha Lou. He made the statement while talking to The Sangai Express upon his return from Kyrgyzstan.
Dinesh Naorem who recently clinched a gold and a silver medal at the GAMMA Asian MMA Championship 2021 held in Kyrgyzstan was accorded a warm reception upon his return at Imphal Airport today.
Dinesh competed in the 56.7 kg category and bagged a gold medal in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event and a silver medal in the Striking MMA event at the same championship.
Dinesh was received by Kakching Runners, Agenda Kakching (a WhatsApp group) and family members as he returned from Kyrgyzstan today. He is the eldest of three siblings (2 brothers and 1 sister) born to (Late) Naorem Yaima and Naorem Ongbi Monbi Devi.
People of Kakching gave a rousing welcome to the MMA star with garlands right from Kakching Lamkhai till he reached his home and expressed happiness over his achievement at the international arena. Social Worker, Yengkhom Nilachandra also expressed pride over Dinesh's performance and encouraged him to achieve more in future.
The 23 old mixed martial artists had fetched a gold medal in the National level Championship held in 2019 under the aegis of All India Mixed Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA) before he made his mark in the international arena.
Speaking to The Sangai Express on his recent struggle, Dinesh said he was a trainee at the Koi Combat Academy before he returned to Manipur as Covid hit the country last year and since then he was working in a nearby break field (Bhubon Brick Field) to help meet his diet and family expenses.
Adding to his woes, his father was injured in an accident and had to undergo surgery twice and due to it, his participation at the GAMMA Asian MMA Championship 2021 was uncertain, he said.
But luckily, one coach at Koi Combat Academy arranged his ticket for the event and left Manipur for the training centre in Bangalore one month before the commencement of the championship held from August 24 to 28.
As he was not financially sound and was struggling to bear his expenses, he had to work in a local club while undergoing training simultaneously. Undertaking both was also failing to meet his end but his friend Ashutosh had helped him get a battery cycle for conveyance on loan. It greatly minimise the pressure on him, said Dinesh with gratitude.
He experienced a big jolt 2-3 days before his departure for the championship as his coach fell ill but the coach joined him at the venue timely before the championship started and gave him a morale boost, he said.
What is more saddening is the demise of his father on August 23, a day before the championship begins but the shocking news was kept a secret till Dinesh reached home today. Financial constraints, restrictions due to Covid and lack of proper treatment led to his father's demise, his family expressed with mixed emotions.
Dinesh further maintained that he is just an MMA amateur for the time being and wanted to turn professional. But he was anxious whether he will be able to follow his dream due to the financial situation he is currently facing. If he gets assistance from the Government and a good sponsorship, he exuded confidence that he could shine more in the international arena and bring laurels to the State, he continued.