New Delhi: Manipuri judoka L. Shushila Devi, who will represent India at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and is currently training at a Sports Authority of India (SAI) camp set up in Delhi, said she is preparing well and feels ready for the global event.
“I feel well prepared (for Tokyo) as the Government is providing every facility that I need. I returned to India from France five days ago. I am glad I could remain in a safe environment and have everything I need to fine-tune my preparation, including a couple of sparring partners and physio,” Shushila Devi said.
At 24, Shushila is the fifth athlete from Manipur to have qualified for the mega sporting event slated to begin from July 23 to August 8 this year. Other players from the state who have made it to the Indian contingent for Tokyo 2020 are boxer MC Mary Kom, weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, women’s hockey player Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam and men’s hockey player Shanglakpam Nilakanta Sharma.
Her coach, Dronacharya Awardee Jiwan Sharma, is pleased with the camp in Delhi. “Sports Authority of India is taking care of everything, including everyday mandatory testing, etc. It is doing its best to provide us everything, especially when the pandemic has made things difficult for all of us.”
Sports Authority of India (SAI) has arranged a special camp at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium especially for the 48kg class judoka till she flies out to Tokyo on July 17.
To ensure Shushila Devi did not have a break in her training before the Olympics, SAI called up her team-mates Mongjam Kabita Devi (48kg class) and Ningthoujam Sarda Devi (52kg class) as sparring partners before she returned to India.
“I compete on the 24th and don’t have much time left for the event. To make sure that I did not have a break in my training, SAI arranged sparring partners for me and got them to quarantine before I reached the camp, so everyone remains safe from COVID-19. It not only ensures my safety but also ensures that my training doesn’t break during this crucial juncture,” she said.
The camp has been set up at the Table Tennis hall inside the new SAI hostel, where mats have been specially arranged for her training.
Before flying to Delhi, Shushila was training in Chateau Gontier, France, in a month-long camp approved by the Mission Olympic Cell in June.