Manipuri Wushu players and coach excluded from Indian squad for Asian Games on whimsical grounds
Manipuri Wushu players and coach excluded from Indian squad for Asian Games on whimsical grounds

Imphal (Agency): The adage that Manipur is a powerhouse of sports in the country suffers a serious blow as two reigning national wushu champions and India’s seasoned Taolu Coach, who has produced a number of international and national champions are left out from the Indian squad for the 19th Asian Games 2023 scheduled from September 23 to October 8 at Hangzhou, China.

For Wushu Taolu players, Hanjabam Karnajit Sharma and Leimapokpam Sanatombi Chanu from Manipur, both reigning national champions, undergoing Asian Games coaching at Patiala, not finding their names in the Indian squad after being selected in the Indian trials is their worst nightmare.

The same is true of Taolu Coach Mayanglambam Sachidananda who has been excluded from the national squad for the third consecutive time despite being the most senior and experienced Taolu coach who had produced several national and international Taolu champions.

The two wushu athletes dream to compete at the Asian Games representing the country has been snatched away by whimsical decision of the selectors concerned. It has been a devastating blow, besides world championships, Asian Games is the most reputed competitive platform as the game is still yet to be included in the Olympics.

Apparently, the players were dropped from the Indian squad on the grounds that they have no international tournament achievement to show their worth. Officials of the ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports who are responsible for the selection have apparently taken the Moscow Wushu Star Championship 2023 as the criteria without any formal notification to that effect and because of the Covid-19 pandemic, major international championships were cancelled or postponed till date.

Mayanglambam Amitkumar, a Wushu coach and a former international Indian Wushu player from Manipur appealed to the ministry to reconsider its decision. He has strong view that the performances of the players at the trials should take precedence for the country to garner medals in the Asian Games.

“Because of Covid, all big international tournaments were cancelled or postponed till now. So there is no chance of participating in such tournaments to show the performance for the country. But they have taken one tournament, Moscow Wushu Star as a criteria. It is an invitation tournament. We didn’t have any pre-government sanctions for the tournament. So, most of our best players didn’t go for that tournament,” he said.

Further Amitkumar continued, “In this scenario, the trail selection conducted by the federation should take precedence of the Moscow tournament. It doesn’t make sense to send underperforming players instead of the best players. Priority should be given to the best performers to represent the nation.”

Meanwhile, the Wushu Association of India as well as the Sports Minister of Manipur have written to the ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports to reconsider its decision and consider including the two Manipuri Wushu players and the coach so that justice may be delivered to them. (Courtesy: Waari Singbul Network)