Sat. Jun 15th, 2024


India’s Roshibina Devi Naorem overcame the fears of riots back home in Manipur, the disappointment of not seeing her teammates at the Games – three Indian wushu athletes from Arunachal Pradesh were denied visas by China – to get silver in the women’s 60kg event at the Hangzhou Asian Games. She lost the final match to local favourite and gold medal favourite Wu Xiaowei of China 0-2 on Thursday. This was Roshibina’s second Asian Games medal after the bronze in the 2018 edition in Jakarta. This was India’s second individual silver medal in wushu at the Games after Wangkhem Sandhyarani Devi had finished second in the final at the Guangzhou Games back in 2010 in the same weight category.

Roshibina Devi(ANI)
Roshibina Devi(ANI)

In the gold medal match, Roshibina tried to go on the offensive by grabbing the leg of her Chinese opponent but Wu Xiaowei, the reigning champion in the category, was quick to assess that. She turned the tables on the Indian quickly. She earned the first point with a superbly planned takedown on Roshibina.

The Manipuri athlete tried to bounce back and got her hold of Wu’s leg to push her out to the edges but was unsuccessful as round one belonged to the Chinese who had a 1-0 lead.

A watchful Wu sealed the issue with an attack on Roshibina Devi’s torso in the second round.

“I am feeling good about winning the silver medal but I am also a little sad about not being able to bag a gold medal,” she said.

‘Want to win for my three friends who could not make it here’: Roshibina

Roshibina may have had to settle for the silver medal but her golden efforts will forever remain etched in the history of a sport that is yet to gain mass popularity in India.

“I want to win for my three friends who could not make it here,” Roshibina told Hindustan Times earlier. “I am used to having Onilu around. We often train together and are good friends. In big events like these, it is important to have someone you are comfortable with,” the 2019 South Asian Games champion said.

Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu are the three athletes from Arunachal Pradesh who were denied visa by Chinese authorities to travel for the Hangzhou Games. Onilu is Roshibina’s sparring partner.

“Wushu is a small family in India and all of us are quite close. I wish to dedicate my success to my parents and fellow athletes who are not here. I want to win for Onilu, Nyeman Wangsu and Mepung Lamgu. That will be my gift to them,” said Roshibina, who took up wushu in 2012 and was included in the junior national camp in 2016.

Fear for parents

That was not the only concern Roshibina has had to deal with. Hailing from Manipur’s Kwasiphai Mayai Leikei village in Bishnupur district, which is about an hour’s drive from Imphal, Roshibina has been in regular touch with her parents not to share the joys of her training routine at Games village but to know about their wellbeing. Manipur has been gripped by violence ethnic violence for about four months now.

“There’s nothing I can do. All I can do is stay away from negativity and pray for them,” she said. Her parents are farmers and also participants in the protest. “My father regularly goes to protest while my mother often keeps an overnight vigil with others to keep our village safe from miscreants. Our house is close to a police station, but I hear even the police are under threat there,” she said.


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