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A very proud moment as a fellow northeastern
Borrowed oars, broken boat – Manipur girls shine on rowing course
There is only one boat of each event – that too outdated, purchased in 2006, broken from several points, need repair after every couple of weeks – for around 30 trainees at Takmu Water Sports Club at Moirang in Bishnupur district of Manipur.
The set of oars is also not adequate – some were procured during the 1999 National Games held in Imphal and now almost worn out. Last year, the senior players, who got employment, contributed Rs 1.25 lakh to buy the centre’s only ergometer – a rowing machine used to simulate the action of watercraft rowing.
Besides, maximum of the trainees are from humble background, they can’t have proper shoes and diet for training, so forget about buying their own oars.
Despite theses hardships, the girls from the remote centre of Manipur shine in rowing course of Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad –the rowing venue of the 36th National Games.
Manipur girls won gold in double scull and a bronze in coxless four.
“Our team was also participating in Women Cox eight and for that we need eight oars, but we could only manage to get six oars with us from Manipur. So, we had to borrow two oars from different teams. Had we got proper equipments, we might have won more medals here,” says coach Lakshmi Narengbam, who had won two gold in the previous edition of the Games held in 2015 in Kerala.
Lakshmi is posted as a caretaker of the boat club, but she doubles up as a coach.
“It’s like a dream come true. We don’t have proper boat and oars, despite of that we won gold in double scull,” says Th Priya Devi, 19, whose father drives an e-rickshaw. “Our boat in Manipur is almost worn out, so every week it needs repair. We have to put adhesives to fill the gaps. But it’s the will and determination that keeps us going,” says 19-year-old H Tendenthoi Devi.
“With the cash incentive which we will get because of our national games gold, we will buy equipment for the centre,” echoes the champion pair.