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Top Sports Stars From Manipur Who Have Made India Proud

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Top Sports Stars From Manipur Who Have Made India Proud

Manipur (also referred to as “Jewel of India”) is often said to be one of the most beautiful states in the Indian union.

With it’s lush, green and mountainous landscapes, as well as it’s amazingly diverse culture of music and dance, Manipur attracts visitors to the state from all over the country, and indeed, from all over the world.

However, beautiful landscapes and music isn’t all that Manipur is known for – for thousands of years, Manipur has also been the home of a rich tradition of sports and martial arts.

In the past few decades, this has led to Manipur raising a number of India’s best world class athletes, who have represented our country and earned recognition at the Olympics and other international sports tournaments.

For the same reason, Manipur is rightfully known as the “Powerhouse of Sports”. From weightlifting and boxing to football, the state has raised some of the finest champions in modern Indian sporting history. Let us have a look at the top sports stars from Manipur who have made India proud in recent times.

Mary Kom

Mary Kom is a world-renowned boxing legend. Mary hails from a small village in Manipur called Kagathei. She comes from a very humble background and rose to national (and international) fame after winning a medal in boxing at the London Olympics in 2012.

Mary went on to become a six time world champion in her boxing category. She also won several medals at continental-Asian and national tournaments.

Owing to her immense contribution to Indian sports, she was promoted to national observer for boxing in 2017.

Mary Kom’s life story has served as an inspiration to countless girls in India who have used her achievements as a model for what is possible for female athletes in the country. Her story has even been adapted into a Hindi-language feature film simply known as “Mary Kom”.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu has made Manipur proud several times by competing in and winning multiple international weightlifting championships.

Mirabai first rose to fame after winning a silver medal in the 49kg weightlifting category at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 – a win that was not anticipated by most online betting sites.

Mirabai’s victory thus represents India’s first ever Olympics silver medal in weightlifting.

Mirabai has also made a mark at other tournaments including the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Weightlifting Championship.

In 2018, she was awarded the Padma Shri Award by the Government of India for her immense contribution to Indian sports.

Kunjarani Devi

Kunjarani Devi is another world-famous female weightlifter from Manipur who has represented India on countless occasions.

Devi has won medals at national and international weightlifting championships since she began her career back in 1985.

Through her long weightlifting career, Kunjarani has won seven silver medals at popular world championships and two bronze medals at Asian Games.

She won her historic bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics and subsequently has inspired many female athletes in India to strive for International success.

Kunjarani Devi is known as the ‘Manipuri Hercules’ owing to her amazing strength, and she is the most decorated Indian woman in weightlifting, having won more tournaments and awards than any other female Indian weightlifter.

Laishram Sarita Devi

Sarita Devi is one of the most successful female Indian boxers and hails from a Manipuri village called Thoubai.

Devi began her boxing career in the year 2000 inspired by Muhammad Ali, one of her idols.

In 2006, Devi bagged a gold medal in the 2006 World Boxing Championship in the light weight category.

In the following stint of her boxing career, she won eight medals at various international boxing tournaments.

In 2009 she was given the Arjuna Award, one of the highest sporting awards given to Indian athletes.

As we’ve seen in this article, the relatively small state of Manipur has really punched above its weight when it comes to churning out successful athletes.

The competitive culture of sports and martial arts is so deeply ingrained within the sinew of Manipur that we will surely see more Manipurian athletes in the future that will make all of India proud!

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