By RL Kamei
IMPHAL, Oct 19: Growing up with a zeal for sports in a small village of Kiyamgei Mayai Leikai in Imphal East district, 24-year old weightlifter Yumnam Renubala Chanu went on to clinch a gold medal in womenâ€™s weightlifting of 58 Kg category in the 19th Common Wealth Games recently concluded in New Delhi. She had also secured a gold medal at the Common Wealth Games held at Melbourne, Australia in the year 2006.
Renubala is youngest daughter amongst eight children of Yumnam Mani, aged 75 years and Yumnam Ongbi Tampha aged about 60 years. Her father Mani is a manual labourer and her mother Tampha is a vegetable vendor.
Owing to poor economic condition of her family, Renubala could study only up to fifth standard at Ideal High School, Kiyamgei Mayai Leikai.
She was also a bright student. She was born with the zeal for sports and since childhood she has always enjoyed playing with boys unlike other girls of her locality who like to play dolls and other girlish game.
Renubalaâ€™s sporting career began in a humble manner with lack of financial support and assistance although her family members back her as much as possible. At the beginning of her career she could not even have adequate diet, but she never loses heart and keeps on concentrating on her practice for the game.
However, a ray of hope came in her life when weightlifting coach Hansha Sharma rendered all possible support in her career as a weightlifter. She then began to have a glorious career by winning many national and international competitions.
Renubalaâ€™s father Mani, who has just returned from New Delhi after witnessing the recently concluded Common Wealth Games, said that he feels proud to be the father of a determined sportsperson who went on to clinch gold medals at various international competitions despite of her humble career started amidst poor economic conditions and he will always pray for his daughterâ€™s success at various competitions.
Her sister-in-law, Radhe said, â€œMy family being poor could not do much for her, but her love for sports and her determination have indeed helped her achieve the gold medal in a grand international competition like the Common Wealth Gamesâ€.
â€œShe has always lived a humble life like a boy. Her stubbornness and undying love for sports are some of her innate qualities which help her become a good sportspersonâ€, she added.
Her brother Ranjit said that his sister Renubala began her sporting career in a pitiful manner unable to pay even the daily bus fare. She could not have adequate daily diet and as a result she frequently fell ill. Her two sisters have been supportive in all her sporting venture, he stated.
Ranjit also excoriated the state government for failing to support the economically backward sportspersons of the state.
Renubala is currently working as a junior clerk in Indian Railways at Guwahati. She is now in Patiala attending the coaching camp for final preparation for the upcoming Asian Games to be held at Guanzhou in China.
By RL Kamei