Panjim: Arunachal Pradesh’s Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu made unfortunate headlines recently as they qualified for the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games, but were denied visas by China, rendering them unable to compete at the marquee event. Although left disappointed by this development, the trio is looking to make a statement with their performance as they set their sights on Gold at the 37th National Games Goa.
Speaking about the disappointment of not being able to compete at the Asian Games, Nyeman Wangsu said, “Ever since we started training in Wushu, our ambition has always been to compete at the Asian Games as it is the highest level of competition in the sport. So, we were heartbroken at first to not be able to compete despite qualifying because of something that was not in our hands.”
Wangsu added that coach Premchandra Singh has been instrumental in helping her get over the setback and set her sights on future competitions.
“Our coach understood our heartbreak because we worked so hard all together, but then he only took the initiative to help us move on. His guidance was that we are still very young with a bright future ahead of us. There is no point in looking back on the past as it will only hinder our practice. We have left the disappointments of the past behind and have eyes only on the future now,” she said.
Wangsu arrived in Goa directly from the National Camp in Patiala where the contingent is training for the upcoming Wushu World Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, USA scheduled to be held from November 16 to 20.
With few people knowing the technicalities of the sport when it was introduced in the state in 2013, Nyemen was amongst the first batch of young athletes to take up a career in Wushu in the state.
“There wasn’t proper infrastructure in the beginning, but as we worked hard towards our goals and started winning medals, gradually the state granted us better training facilities for us to continue our efforts. Our coach Premchandra sir has worked tirelessly towards the growth of the sport, and he is the prime reason that everyone in Arunachal Pradesh is well aware of Wushu as being a graceful Chinese martial art form now,” said Wangsu.
As Wushu kickstarted on day 7 of the 37th National Games, Arunachal’s Onilu Tega took to the mat and convincingly defeated Rajasthan’s Jahanvi Mehra in her first bout in the Girl’s 52kg Sanda discipline. She will be facing Madhya Pradesh’s Namrata Batra in the quarterfinals next.
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Meanwhile, 19-year-old Mercy Nagaimong, who bagged her second successive National Games gold medal in the women’s Changquan event, said improved facilities back home are helping them perform better.
“At our residential academy in Itanagar, the facilities for training are really good. They are also building a new Chinese Wushu arena which will have all the facilities so that players can focus on their training. It feels very good that I have been able to win a medal for my state and give something back to my state,” she added.
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