The 9 greatest athletes produced by Manipur

The state of Manipur is known for its scenic beauty which attracts tourists from across the world throughout the year. Located in the North-East of India, Manipur has given India some incredible athletes who have done the nation proud with their commendable performances.Let us look at some of the best athletes from the state.

#1 Mary Kom

One of the most inspirational sportspersons in the country, Mary Kom has been a symbol of consistency ever since making her debut in early 2000s.

The success of Dingko Singh at the Bangkok Asian Games was one of the primary reasons for Mary to take up boxing. The Imphal native is a 5-time World Amateur boxing champion and has won several medals at the Asian boxing championships as well.

Her best result came at the 2012 London Olympics when she became the first Indian woman boxer to win a medal in the event. She has competed in 46 Kg, 48 Kg and 51 Kg categories and has excelled in all of them.

After missing out of the 2014 Glasgow games, Mary came back strongly to win her first Asian Games gold in Incheon.

A Bollywood film titled 'Mary Kom' premiered last year starring Priyanka Chopra in the lead role.


Arjuna award

Padma Shree

Padma Bhushan

#2 Kunjarani Devi

On what started as a passion for weightlifting in her college, Kunjarani Devi took it up a notch with her impressive performances in the National Championships where she won gold in multiple categories.

The Manchester World Weightlifting championship saw Kunjarani clinch her first World title. She went on to represent India in the next seven consecutive World Championships and managed to return with a medal on each occasion barring the 1993 Melbourne one.

She won bronze medals in both the 1990 and 1994 editions of the Asian Games. Kunjarani won gold in the 48 Kg category at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games with a Games record.


Arjuna award

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award

#3 Sarita Devi

Born and brought up in Mayang, Sarita Devi had a tough childhood. Muhammad Ali was her inspiration to take up boxing as she turned professional in 2000 at the age of just 15.

The Bangkok Asian Championships in 2001 saw Sarita clinch a silver medal. She went on to add four gold medals in the Asian Championships over the course of the next 9 years. Her best result has been a gold winning effort at the 2006 World Championships in the 52 Kg category.

After winning silver in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Sarita looked like going all the way at the Asian Games in Incheon before an alleged controversial decision in the semifinals cut short her journey. What followed was a controversy with Sarita refusing to accept her bronze medal. She was suspended by the sport's governing body following this incident.


Arjuna award

#4 Sanjita Chanu

Sanjita Chanu took up the sport of weightlifting at the age of 12, inspired by Kunjarani Devi's success at the world stage.

The 21-year old won India's first gold medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games with a fine effort of 173 Kg missing the Games record by a couple of kilograms.

Chanu holds the promise for Indian weightlifting in the years to come.

#5 Devendro Singh

Devendro Singh is one of the brightest boxing talents in the country and has lived up to his reputation in the early stages of his career.

His first Olympic stint in London lasted till the quarterfinals when he lost a close bout against Ireland's Paddy Barnes.

Devendro won a silver in the 2013 Asian Confederation boxing championship and went on to win the silver medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The young boxer is a medal prospect for India at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

#6 Dingko Singh

Dingko Singh endured a tough life to start with and was brought up in an orphonage. He won the sub junior National boxing championships at the age of 10. He won the King’s cup in Bangkok in 1997 which gave him confidence ahead of the 1998 Asian Games.

After getting past Wong Prages Sontaya in the semifinals, Dingko got the better of Uzbekistan’s Timur Tulyakov in the final to win his first gold at the Asian Games.

#7 Mirabai Chanu

The 20-year old from Imphal won silver in the 48-Kg weightlifting event at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. She came a close second to her state mate Sanjita Chanu in the final.

#8 Kalpana Devi

After bagging several medals at the junior national championships, Kalpana Devi claimed a gold in the Asian junior judo championship.

She proved her mettle yet again when she won gold at the Commonwealth judo championships in 2013 and backed it up by becoming the first Indian to win a medal at the IJF Grand Prix in Tashkent.

She also claimed bronze at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the 52 Kg category.

#9 Boithang Haokip

One of the promising footballers to come out of the state, Boithang Haokip plays for Shillong Lajong in the I-League. Haokip is a versatile player and can fit into the team as a central midfielder, right back or as a wide player.

The 23-year old has scored 14 goals in his 68 appearances in the I-league. He played for North East United FC during the 2014 Indian Super League.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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