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Khelo India Games: Manipur’s Ormila Devi latest weightlifter to make a mark

Ormila Devi lived up to her growing stature by winning gold in the 44kg category weightlifting at the Khelo India School Games competition.

other sports Updated: Feb 05, 2018 20:40 IST
HT Correspondent
Khelo India Games,Ormila Devi,44kg category weightlifting
Ormila Devi won gold in the 44kg category at the Khelo India School Games competition.(Twitter)

Women have provided the finest moments in Indian weightlifting since their rise over the last three decades. And lifters from Manipur have held their own in the lower weight divisions.

On Monday, Konsam Ormila Devi of Manipur lived up to her growing stature by winning gold in the 44kg category at the Khelo India School Games competition at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.

Ormila Devi, the Commonwealth Youth Championship winner, lifted a combined total of 137 kg – 59kg in snatch and 78 kg in clean and jerk -- four kg better than what she achieved in the Commonwealth meet at Gold Coast in September.

Her coach, T Bobo Singh, hopes his ward would be able to justify her talent and emulate illustrious lifters from Manipur, led by Kunjarani Devi.

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Manipur had plenty to cheer with the rest of the nation in November, when Saikhom Mirabai Chanu ended a 22-year wait to win gold at the World Weightlifting Championships at Anaheim, California.

Chanu, who had to miss her sister’s wedding that was fixed too close to the competition, ended her disappointment at the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning the 48kg title in the US, lifting a total of 194kg. Her 109kg in clean and jerk was an improvement on her national record.

Ormila’s success in New Delhi gives hopes that she would follow in Chanu’s footsteps.

On Monday, Ormila eased to victory. Her total was 10 kg better than silver medallist, Khushali Gangurde of Maharashtra (total 127 kg). “I thought she (Khushali) would give a fight, but she didn’t succeed in her last two attempts,” she said.

Ormila is an example of youngsters taking the sports route to shake off poverty. She comes from from Khongjom, a village 35km from Imphal. “Her mother is a vegetable vendor in Khongjom, and her father is very ill,” coach Bobo Singh said.

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Bobo Singh, a former Sports Authority of India academy coach in Manipur, persuaded her to take up weightlifting.

“Her cousin used to play football. That is how I discovered her at the SAI academy,” he said. “I spotted her in 2013, and it is great to see her do so well in four years or so. I had told her to give me two years, and we have come a long way since then.”

Ormila, who also won gold in the Asian Youth Championship, said: “I study in the ninth standard, and the school where I come from doesn’t have many facilities for sports, so I have to train at the academy.”

Her next stop will be the national championships in Visakhapatnam later this month, which is also the trails for selection to international competitions.

First Published: Feb 05, 2018 20:40 IST