Manipur: Will be hard for budding athletes to restart, says boxing coach Ibomcha

There is strife and death. Sports is the last thing in their mind now when homes are burnt and people are killed.

CHENNAI:  It's an ordeal they are hoping will not last for long. Every day they think this would end tomorrow but it has turned into night without an end. There is strife and death. Sports is the last thing in their mind now when homes are burnt and people are killed. 

A delegate of sportspersons including Arjuna Awardees like Kunjarani Devi, L Sarita Devi and Bem Bem Devi met the Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday and submitted a memorandum.  One of the most experienced boxing coaches in the region, Ibomcha Singh, said it’s a day-to-day existence for them. “We are somewhat fine in Manipur but my home in Kakchin is affected,” he said. “It’s very sad.” What is hurting him most is the closure of centres, both for boxing and other sports at the Khuman Lampak Stadium premises. 

“It’s been almost a month now, all the students are back home and the hostel is shut and there is no training,” said Ibomcha, who had coached stars like 1998 Asian Games gold medallist late Dingko Singh, London Olympic medallist and multiple world champion Mary Kom, former world champion Sarita Devi and 2009 Asian Championships champion Suranjoy Singh. He is distraught that the children had to break their training schedule during peak season and go home.

“In boxing or any other sport, it is not easy if we give a break for more than a day or two,” said Ibomcha, who trains boxers at the Khuman Lampak Stadium centre. “For them to come back will be a struggle. After seeing so much of distress they will have to overcome mental trauma. It will be hard. And missing so many days of training will put them behind the rest of the country.”

He hoped situation gets back to normal. “But things are really bad and just hope everything gets back to normal soon,” he said, adding, they have spoken to Mirabai Chanu to lend her support. Thoiba Singh, Sarita’s husband, said things in and around their house suddenly turned unsafe and they had to shift to a relative’s house. He said Sarita is busy with her police duties. “Situation is not very good and we are tense,” he said. “Sarita has been very busy with her work in police.” Sarita has been appealing for peace and normalcy.

Bem Bem, who went to meet the home minister on Tuesday, said: “He assured us that everything that can be done from the central government’s part, they will do.”   “I get very emotional thinking about the situation,” she said. “Everybody has been affected, homes have been burnt. A lot of old people and children are in relief camps. I want things to go back to normal soon. “As a sportsperson also, it is saddening because currently no sporting activity is going on in the state.”

Inputs from Vishnu Prasad in Bengaluru

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