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Manipur: A play on the life and struggle of Mirabai Chanu stages at Imphal

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Shumang Leela, a traditional Manipur courtyard titled ‘Mei Iklaba Thamoi‘ on Olympic medalist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu‘s life and work was premiered at Imphal on Sunday to inspire athletes and generate more Olympians in the future.

The primary purpose behind presenting such a basic play, according to Ranjit Ningthouja, a well-known playwright who produced a 2-hour-long play, is to stimulate athletes and generate more Olympians from the Northeast.

Other goals

Other goals include promoting and popularising the Shumang Leela art form, as well as encouraging Shumang Leela artists in light of the current covid scenario, according to Ranjit.

In Imphal, the play premiered in front of ministers and members of the production committee at the state’s popular playhouse, Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen.

According to Ranjit, developing the screenplay and organizing the play took roughly two months. The production team intends to stage the play in a few Northeast cities as well as broadcast it with subtitles on local television stations.

All about Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu, who started lifting firewood as a toddler, is now one of India’s most well-known weightlifters. At the Tokyo Olympics, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, a girl from Manipur’s East Imphal district, made history by winning the silver medal in the Women’s 49kg Weightlifting event.

Mirabai Chanu 1 Mirabai Chanu The North-Eastern Chronicle

She began competing on the international scene at a young age, earning international medals and gaining recognition. In the women’s 49kg category at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Mirabai Chanu was considered a favourite.

Mirabai was also the first Indian woman to win a weightlifting medal since Karnam Malleswari won bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Mirabai and her coach, Vijay Sharma, both stated that it was the climax of a five-year journey packed with highs and lows.

Her struggle

Mirabai’s sports-loving parents let the youngest of their six children pursue the hard activity despite their impoverished beginnings and other challenges. Mirabai’s hardest obstacle was travelling 20 kilometres one way from her hometown of Nongpok Kakching to Imphal’s Khuman Lampak Stadium.

With only $5 in pocket money a day, she would leave home in the wee hours of the morning to attend early morning training sessions. She would hitchhike if there was no bus.

Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai moved to the national camp in Patiala in 2011 to begin a new phase of her career after mastering the fundamentals of weightlifting in Imphal.

Mirabai struggled to adjust to the hostel life at the National Institute of Sports, missing her home and struggling with strange languages (NIS).

Other Achievements

Mirabai Chanu debuted on the international stage at the age of 20 when she won a silver medal in the 48kg division at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

In 2017, Mirabai won gold at the World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, California. She was the first Indian weightlifter to do so in two decades.

Chanu had a lower back issue in 2018, which prevented her from competing in any of the tournaments throughout the year. In 2019, she made an incredible return at the World Championships in Thailand. She made the event memorable by breaking the 200kg barrier for the first time in her career, despite finishing fourth.

Mirabai Chanu set a new world record in the women’s 49kg clean and jerk with a lift of 119kgs at the Asian weightlifting championships in Tashkent in April. Due to a lacklustre performance in the snatch, Chanu had to settle for a bronze medal in the Asian championships.

Manipur’s Chief Minister, N. Biren Singh, praised Chanu and presented her with a gift of 2 million rupees. In 2018, she received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest civilian sporting honour. Chanu was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government in 2018.

Also read: Proud Moment: Assam girl bags National award in National Music Contest

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