Manipur village girl Roshibina Devi shines in Asian Games

Back home, her achievement will not be celebrated with fanfare due to ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur

| Updated: 29 September, 2023 4:00 pm IST
From homemade punching bag to Silver Medal: Roshibina Devi's inspirational journey in Wushu

GUWAHATI: Fifteen years ago, a little girl spent her free time punching and kicking at an improvised punching bag she made at her residence at a nondescript village in Manipur’s Bishnupur district. From Kwakshiphai, she moved to Imphal to learn Wushu at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) training centre.

On Thursday, the girl – Naorem Roshibina Devi – clinched a silver medal in the women’s 60-kg Sanda final at the ongoing 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. In the match, she lost to Xiaowi Wu of the host country by 2-0.

Roshibina had hoped to script history by clinching India’s first gold in Wushu at the Asian Games after her terrific performance at the semi-finals defeating Vietnam’s Thi Thu Thuy Ngyugen 2-0, needing only 2 rounds of 2 minutes each.

“I’m happy about my performance but I could have been happier if I would have been the champion and also if the situation in my home state was resolved,” said the aggressive Sanda fighter while interacting with the media after the final bout.

I’ll aim for gold in the next outing, she pledged.

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Nevertheless, Roshibina managed to change the color of medal she won at Jakarta Asiad in 2018 from bronze to silver this time.

“For all of us in our small family and village, we are all happy as my daughter bagged a silver medal today,” Naorem Damu Singh, father of Roshibina said.

Soon after he heard the news, he somehow managed to call her on WhatsApp from a house where the internet is accessible, said Damu, an ordinary cultivator.

“During our short conversation, my daughter was not in her highest happiness mood as she said she was expecting a gold medal in the final match. I, however, asked her not to lose heart, and encouraged her to grab first position in the upcoming international competitions,” Damu added.

He added that Roshibina (22) has already been selected to vie for an international Wushu championship to be held in the USA in November this year.

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Recapitulating Roshibina’s deep passion for Wushu, Damu said when she was just 7 years old she collected tattered clothes and made a punch back which punched and kicked frantically all the time.

“Noticing her zeal, Wushu champion Malemnganbi Devi from our locality began teaching her the game. Another Wushu coach, M Ronel Singh from Nachou, our neighboring village, also taught her for a short period of time,” Damu continued.

Later Roshibina was sent to SAI training centre in Imphal to get formal Wushu training under coach M Premkumar. She is currently pursuing her BA first year at CI College in the district.

The family, however, has opted for a low-profile event to celebrate Roshibina’s spectacular achievement due to ongoing ethnic violence in the state. “We are not going for fanfare,” said her father.

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