IMPHAL: Manipur has produced uncountable numbers of top flight sportspersons, whose names are talked about with awe at the international and national levels, like a non-stop factory unit and deservedly earned the tag of power house of sports in India.
Manipur is gifted in a variety of sports whether it is football, fencing, wushu, kickboxing, hockey or Thang-Ta etc. It can be said that Manipur has been ruling in the field of sports for many years in India.
One of the latest talents to be aiming for stardom is young kickboxer Jojo Rajkumari, the 24-year old who is the youngest daughter of RK Biren and RK (ongbi) Bedheshini Devi from Moirang part-II Phiyongbam Leikai, Bishnupur district. She debuted as a full Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) professional fighter in the year 2018 under the guidance of Head Coach Frank Nandeibam from Kongpal Nandeibam Leikai.
Jojo Rajkumari started her career in kickboxing under coach Rohit. She first participated in a state level kickboxing tournament in the year 2008 at a meet held at Kha-Potsangbam, where she received the best fighter award besides the gold medal. Till now she has bagged 12 medals including gold and silver medals from different meets in her kickboxing career. She has participated in four national tournaments beginning with the one held in the capital of India Delhi in 2011.
As a professional MMA fighter, the state level MMA tournament Manipur Fight League (MFL) is the meet where she made her debut way back in 2018 in Manipur and now her professional career has bloomed over the last three years. During her journey in MMA, she used to get discouraging comments and nasty personnel remarks on the social media but she never looked back nor paid attention to such comments. Very astutely, she gave significance to the many good wishes and comments that have been posted alongside the terse comments. So far by God’s grace many people have offered support and encouraged her and boosted her morale.
She said that so far she has already participated in three state level MMA tournaments MFL. She has a record of 2 wins and a single loss. As she comes from a poor family background she encountered problems regarding the management of good daily diet. Financial constraint has impeded her course as an athlete in other ways. She once tried to participate in an MMA tournament held at Mumbai but missed it due to lack of fund and cannot afford the flight ticket. She said that her future dream and plan is to take part in One Championship tournament.
She said that to be a professional MMA fighter, one has to maintain top physical fitness, persistently work hard, and importantly possess ample patience. She alone tries to manage her needs by herself. When she is free from training, Jojo also helps in her mother tea shop and engage in order jobs to save money for her professional journey. It is said that she practiced every day at-least 4 hours a day starting from 6 am till 10 am. She is now practicing at Kangleipak Mixed Martials Arts Club (KMMAC) at Singjamei.
According to Jojo she has not received any help from her local MLA, social worker or other individuals, organizations, association or clubs till now. She has been staying in a rented house at Wangkhei Ningthempukhri Mapal for the last three years paying rent from her own pocket to pursue her training. She has drawn the attention of the state government and other authorities to extend help in providing infrastructure and equipment for her sports.