HomeN-E STATESMANIPURA daughter of a farmer from Manipur became India's greatest judoka: Report...

A daughter of a farmer from Manipur became India’s greatest judoka: Report 03Aug 2022

A daughter of a farmer from Manipur became India's greatest judoka, One of India's finest judokas and Commonwealth Games 2022 silver medalist..

A daughter of a farmer from Manipur became India’s greatest judoka

One of India’s finest judokas and Commonwealth Games 2022 silver medalist, Manipur’s Shushila Devi Likambam has come a long way from battling depression and selling her car for her career.

In the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this year, judoka Shushila Devi Limbambam won the silver medal in the women’s judo 48kg final, losing to Michaela Whitbuy of South Africa. This is Sushila’s second Commonwealth Games silver medal after her first in Glasgow in 2014.

The road to silver was not an easy one for this 27-year-old woman from Manipur. On Monday, she played with stitches on her knee.

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“What Shusheela did was beyond expectations. We were counting on him for a medal, but getting the top seed and winning a medal is unbelievable,” India’s chief judo coach Jeevan Kumar Sharma told Hindustan Times. “We were just hoping that his stitches shouldn’t come out. It has been a tough phase for him after injuring himself in the camp in Delhi and not going on the exposure tour.

His victory has brought him a lot of accolades and pride, with people across the country acknowledging that the player has overcome many hurdles to achieve this feat.

Well deserved silver after injuries and financial struggles

Judo runs in Shushila’s family – her uncle, Dineet Singh, was an international judo player and her brother Shilakshi Singh was a national gold medalist in the sport.

Born in February 1995 in Hingang, East Imphal, Shusheela herself took up the sport when she was only five years old. “I used to go everywhere with my elder brother. My uncle was also an international judo player, so I got basic training at home,” Sushila told India Today.

When she was seven, she began training at the Judo Academy in Khuman Lampak, 30 minutes from her home. Every day the brothers and sisters would get up at 5.30 am and leave the house at 6 am, Shusheela would sit behind her brother.

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He then trained at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) center in Imphal, from where he was selected to train at the National Center of Excellence in Patiala.

At the time, playing internationally was not even on his radar, he told Sportstar. “I just loved the sport. Patiala had top athletes from different disciplines and I used to watch how they train and practice. I used to like Mary Kom and top judokas. I used to watch their practice sessions.”

stood apart regardless of his talent. Sharma told The Indian Express, “I remember she couldn’t speak a word of Hindi. We saw how good and talented she was during the trials. But we didn’t know that she would one day make it to the Olympics.

However, despite his talent, money remained a major issue for judoka. Her parents were farmers and she had to take out loans to travel around the world. As his brother said, “Ghar ka Khet is a field named Khet. It’s a small place, we used to manage to grow enough vegetables for ourselves, maybe sell some extra stuff. But that was not enough.

A daughter of a farmer from Manipur became India's greatest judoka
A daughter of a farmer from Manipur became India’s greatest judoka

In fact, at one point, he had to sell his car to support his career. Her brother says that her hometown provided her sister with unwavering support, but many did not have the means to support her financially.

In 2018, his career faced another major hurdle when he suffered a hamstring injury just before the Asian Games trials. “I was broken. I thought my judo career was over. The goal was to qualify for the Asian Games and use that as a platform to prepare for the Olympics. I was heartbroken and for three months Went back home to take a break,” she said.

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Coach Sharma told The Indian Express, “In judo, you have to compete in several tournaments – 20-30 odd – before you qualify. But the government had not sanctioned his journey for most of them. Had to pay out of pocket, so she was traveling alone and thus began the financial struggle.

The two trips she funded herself – one in Japan and one in Budapest, Hungary – proved futile. When she went to Osaka in November 2019, she did not hear her name announced, and therefore could not compete. In Budapest, she could not compete because she weighed 500 grams more.

Despite all this, with Sharma’s help, she got back on track after winning silver medals at the Hong Kong Asia Open in 2018 and 2019. He set up tickets and sponsors for her and she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

As the judoka secures her much-anticipated victory, her struggles so far only summarize her endless drive, and that means never giving up.

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A daughter of a farmer from Manipur became India’s greatest judoka

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(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by News East India staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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