Thang-Ta’s Popularity On The Rise

IMPHAL, Mar 12: Having grabbed the attention of the nation, to say the least, Thang-ta the indigenous martial arts sports of Manipur is steadily gaining popularity across the globe.

Team leaders and coaches from different countries, taking part in the 1st World Thang-Ta championship which began yesterday at Imphal, are informed to be making relentless effort to popularize the weapon-based game.

While Malaysian exponents of the sport are keen to host second edition of the championship in their country, a British national is all set to popularize the game through media.

It may be noted that Manipuri warriors adopted Thang-Ta as a tool in numerous battles as an offensive and defensive mechanism with swords, spears and physical movements.

“With more and more youngsters of our country learning Thang-Ta in our country, popularity of the game is gaining momentum. This being the factual case, we are planning to organize the second world Thang-Ta championship in our country for which we have begun consulting Thang-Ta federation officials,” said Murlidharan, a senior coach of the game on Saturday.

Including Murlidharan and another coach Senthil Kumarh, a 15-member team from Malaysia is taking part in the ongoing championship.

Besides Malaysia and host India, players and Thang-Ta lovers from Bangladesh, Nepal, UK and Sri Lanka are participating the four-day long championship with over 250 players vying for medals in four different categories – Ahanba Phunaba, Anisuba Phuna-ba, Thang Leiteng, Thang- lon Chatpa and Taron.

Paul Dickin, a British national and a freelance television journalist, who is documenting the championship, said he would popularize the game across United Kingdom by way of airing his works. “I really love Manipur’s martial arts like Thang-Ta and culture and tradition.

I will attempt to send young players from UK to Manipur to learn the game to ensure they would again teach it to our country’s youngsters,” Dicking (69), said. A young Kashmiri girl and Thang-Ta player Hafsahahdoo, who has been practicing the game since the last one decade, said she was overwhelmed by the game’s systematic defensive and offensive mechanisms. Her coach Ejaaz Ahmad said since the Jammu and Kashmir govt had already recognized Thang-Ta, “we have organized district and state level champion- ships of the game in our state since the last few years.” Significantly the force behind spreading Thang-Ta across the world is the game’s exponent H Premkumar who is also the president of Thang-Ta Federation of India (TTFI).

“To popularize the game, I along with some instructors moved to some countries and taught the game which in turn my students again set up training centre at their respective countries,” Premkumar said adding the game is played in almost all states of India. The federation, which has been recognized by the IOA, has so far organized 17 Thang-Ta national level and 21 state level championships.

Organized jointly by TTFI and Huyel Langlon Thang-Ta Assn, the international championship began on Friday with Moirang AC MLA M Prithiviraj attending the opening ceremony as the chief guest. While H Premkumar attended it as the functional president another legislature Salam Joy Singh, Birjit Ngangomba chief advisor of TTFI and Padmashree RK Achouba graced the occasion as the guests of honor.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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