Indian hockey midfielder Chinglensana Singh Kangujam was given a resounding welcome by families and friends in Imphal, Manipur Credit: EastMojo image

Imphal: Arjuna Award winner Chinglensana Singh Kangujam was given a hero’s welcome upon his arrival at Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal, Manipur on Saturday. The 27-year-old Indian hockey team midfielder was conferred with the prestigious sports award by President Ram Nath Kovind recently.

Family members, relatives and friends of Kangujam gathered at the airport to receive the son of the soil upon his arrival and gave him a resounding welcome.

Kangujam, an Indian midfielder player from Manipur’s Bashikhong Wangkhei Laumanbi Leikai in Imphal East, was among the 19 sports persons who received the prestigious Arjuna Award for his achievements in hockey. The award ceremony was held on the National Sports Day which was being observed on the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand on 29 August at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

“This is my first individual award and I want to share this moment with my teammates and family. It is because of their support and love shown over the years, [that] I am winning this award,” said the beaming hockey player.

With this esteemed award, Kangujam has become the 17th Arjuna Awardee from the state. Heavy weightlifter Kunjarani Devi was the first sportswoman from the state who received the award in 1999.

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Known for his composure and authority in the field, the national hockey player first showed his interest in the game during his Class VI or VII. Initially, he was trained at Meiraa Club at his locality but later, the Arjuna Award recipient joined the Sports Authority of India (SAI) at Khuman Lampak in Imphal for further training.

Ever since he was inducted in the national hockey team in 2011, Kangujam has maintained his performance in matches, making him one of the key players in the team. Moreover, he is also among the few players in the current team to have completed more than 200 international caps.

However, the Indian midfielder’s first breakthrough came after he won a silver medal with a senior team at 2013 Asia Cup.

Later, Kangujam, along with the members of Indian men’s hockey team went on to win a gold medal in 2017 Asia Cup and bronze medal in Asian Games in 2018.

Kangujam is now hoping to qualify for the upcoming Olympics qualifying tournament. “I am confident that we will get qualified. We have to first focus on qualifying and then the next target is Olympic medal,” he added.

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