A saga of grit, determination

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Apr 2018 10:36:59




ONE of the stars of Indian weightlifting, Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu’s rise to the top of her sport is a saga of grit and determination against great odds. Hailing from remote Umathel Kakching village in Kakching district of Manipur, Sanjita took to weightlifting in 2006, drawing inspiration from her idol and multiple World Championships medallist and fellow Manipuri Kunjarani Devi.But her path was always a difficult one as the 24-year-old was dogged by poverty and lack of facilities throughout her growing-up years.With five children to look after, Sanjita’s parents were hard pressed to meet all her expenses from their meagre resources.

But despite all their hardships, K Tekon Leima and Khumukcham Lukhoi were determined to provide the diet and other facilities to enable their daughter to pursue her dreams. Her mother Leima said she used to work hard from morning to night to meet Sanjita’s needs and also encouraged her to push harder during training.“Being a poor family, we could hardly afford nutritious food for the sports girl. Time and again she asked me whether she should give up her first love of sports. But I always replied that she should continue doing the exercises. I ran from pillar to post to provide her food and other items for her exercise,” Leima said.

Their efforts bore fruit as Sanjita gradually started winning laurels at junior tournaments and quickly climbed her way into the senior ranks. But the hardhips continued even after Sanjita sealed a spot in the India squad.She was the victim of official apathy as well.The Manipur government offered her the post of a police constable after she won gold in the women’s 48 kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but the family regarded this as an affront. Tekon said she exhorted Sanjita to reply to the perceived slight in the best way possible -- winning more medals at domestic and international tournaments.


‘Sad I couldn’t break all Games records’



EVER heard of a successive gold-medallist speak of being sad after medal ceremony? That was Indian weightlifter Sanjita Chanu, who was disappointed about not breaking a Commonwealth Games record despite the fact that she was not even 100 per cent fit.“Had I not dropped my last lift, I would have created a Games record. I really wanted to do it. I missed it and I am a bit sad about that. But I guess it’s ok, I don’t know,” said the reigning Commonwealth Championships gold-medallist.

The Indian was attempting a lift of 113kg in her final chance in clean and jerk but could not pull it off. “I had come thinking of breaking the record and lift 112kg (the CWG record stands at 111kg), I thought it was not that difficult. Probably god was not with me today.“I became a little stiff during my clean lift and I probably didn’t push too well in jerk,” she reasoned. The gold in 53kg came after a top finish in the 48kg category during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

“Because of this injury I still cannot train too hard. I have been lucky to get good support which has kept me motivated. My back injury was a concern before coming here too, I have barely trained for 15 days for this competition. I am still 10 per cent lacking in fitness. The physio has been working on me outside the competition arena,” she said.