Guwahati: The rise of judo in Manipur is evident at the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati, as the state bagged a total of 17 medals: six gold, four silver and seven bronze across categories of the modern martial art sport.
The team’s biggest inspiration is Tababi Devi Thangjam, who in 2018, became the first-ever Indian judoka to win an Olympic medal (senior or junior) when she won a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in the Women’s -44kg category at Buenos Aires.
Thangjam created history that day, and the upcoming athletic youth from Manipur, have taken the baton in their own hands, and are aiming to follow in her footsteps.
“After Tababi Devi won the silver medal at the Youth Olympics in 2018, there was an influx in the number of judo players who joined our academy back in Manipur. The region has always had this martial arts’ culture, and judo has also benefited because of it,” Manipur’s judo team manager Deven Moirangthem was quoted as saying by Khelo India.
The Northeast state has upped its games compared to last year when it managed to win two golds, three silvers and five bronze medals. Manipuri women’s coach Chingkheinganbi credited the sporting environment for the state’s rise in judo. Speaking on Manipur’s best bet at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Chingkheinganbi was quoted as saying by Khelo India, “I think L Sushila Devi is one of India’s top judokas right now, and we are all hopeful that she can qualify for the Olympics.”
Manipur bagged two gold medals and a silver on the last day of the judo competition to finish second on the judo medals’ tally, with Rebina Devi Chanam (-70kg) and Indubala Devi Maibam (-78kg) winning their events, while Inunganbi Takhellambam (-63kg) finished second.
Gold medalists Maxlaishrm Meetei (Women’s -66kg), K Bishal Singh (Men’s -73kg), Jagadish Meitei Laishram (Men’s -66kg) and Matouleibi Devi Huidrom (Women’s -57kg), also led Manipur’s charge in judo with top performances in their respective events.