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Manipur’s Thoubal Residents Proud Of Their Star Fighters

Militancy has hit sport hard in Jammu and Kashmir, so much so that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) hardly has a presence in the troubled state.

Manipur is a study in contrast. Though disturbed, it probably is SAI’s biggest success story. The wushu medal winners add to a glittering list of Manipuri champs making the insurgency-hit state the nation’s sports powerhouse.

The Thoubal region is Manipur’s home of warrior sports. Seven of the 10 Indians who contested at Guangzhou were from Manipur. Of them, four were Thoubal residents besides coach M Sachidananda and technical official M Birmani Singh.

The reasons are socio-cultural. The North-east region has shown a natural affinity for martial art. Sandhyarani boxed with five-time world champion MC Mary Kom, and even won gold at the Punjab National Games in the early 2000s. Eventually, she chose wushu as has sport because “it was more all-round.”

“Since certain characteristics of Thang-Ta, a Manipuri martial and Mukna, a native sport are incorporated with wushu, players from the state find it easy to adapt to it,” explains Sushil Kumar Singh, secretary of the Manipur Wushu Association in Imphal. Wushu is a contact sport that involves some features of taekwondo, wrestling and boxing.

Even as he spoke, 30 wushu hopefuls departed from nearby Kakching to faraway Chennai for the sub-junior nationals starting next week. Some of them would turn out for neighboring Arunachal Pradesh. No one seems to mind, as long as the supply line was busy and running.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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