Manipur in Olympics
Manipur has been consistently doing justice to how deserving she is to be known by the tagline ‘The Powerhouse of Sports in India’. She has produced numerous eminent sports personalities who have brought laurels to the nation, set national and international records. Taking part in the Olympics is a dream for every athlete and Manipur has produced a remarkable number of athletes who have participated in such a huge international event as the Olympic Games including a star who won a medal in the Olympics of 2012. Again this year, 5 athletes from Manipur are representing India in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, 2020.
The story of ‘Manipur in the Olympics’
Looking into a glimpse of the history of ‘Manipuris in the Olympics’, the story starts with the hockey player Pangambam Nilkamal, the first Manipuri to participate in the Olympics in the year 1984. He represented India as a goalkeeper of India’s men’s hockey team. In India’s men’s hockey team, Khetrimayum Thoiba represented India in the Olympics of 1988, Khadangbam Kothajit in 2012 and 2016 and Kangujam Chinglensana in 2016. Thokchom Anuradha also represented India in the 2016 Olympics as a forward player of India’s women hockey team.
For the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, two players from Manipur have qualified for representing India in men’s and women’s hockey.
1. Pukhrambam Sushila Chanu
She led India’s women’s hockey in the 2016 Olympics and is representing India for the second time in the Olympics this year.
2. Nilakanta Sharma
He plays as a midfielder for India’s men’s hockey team. He was part of the Indian squad that won the 2016 Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup.
In boxing, Ngangom Dingko and Soubam Suresh represented India in the Olympics of 2000. MC Marry Kom and Laishram Devendro represented in the Olympics of 2012 in which Mary Kom won a bronze medal and set a record to become the first Manipuri to win a medal in the Olympics.
For the upcoming Olympics, six times world champion and Olympic bronze medalist MC Mary Kom is representing India for the second time in the 51 kg category.
Thingbaijam Sanamacha and Nameirakpam Kunjarani participated in the weightlifting event of women’s 53 kg and 48 kg weight categories, respectively in the 2004 Olympics where Kunjarani was placed fourth. Ngangbam Sonia competed in the women’s 48 kg category in the 2012 Olympics.
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu who competed in the women’s 48 kg category in the 2016 Olympics will represent India for the second time in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee who has been ranked second in the Women 49 kg ranking list by the International Weightlifting Federation recently, is the one and only Indian weightlifter to qualify for this year’s Olympics.
The first Indian woman judoka to participate in the Olympics, Lourembam Brojeshori participated in the Olympics of 2000 while Khumujam Tombi represented India in the 2008 Olympics.
For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Likmabam Sushila is the only Indian judoka who has qualified for the event.
Laishram Bombayla is the only archer from Manipur who has participated in the Olympics so far. She represented India in the 2008 Olympics at individual as well as team events. She also participated in the Olympics of 2012 and 2016. She is the only Manipuri who competed at the Olympics three consecutive times.
So far, Manipur has produced 19 Olympians who competed in 5 disciplines viz, hockey, boxing, weightlifting, judo and archery. For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which is scheduled to start on 23 July and continue till 8 August, 5 athletes from Manipur will be competing in 4 disciplines- hockey, boxing, weightlifting and judo. The state is anticipating and wishing for the best for all the athletes. With a motive to encourage the athletes, the CM of Manipur launched ‘Cheer4India’ campaign and announced an award of Rs 1.2 crore for the gold medal winner, Rs 1 crore for the silver medal winner and Rs 75 lakh for the bronze medal winner in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The state will also award Rs 25 lakh to each of the five Olympians from the state representing India.