New Delhi: Dangmei Grace, a prolific India women’s team forward, has explained what makes Manipur a powerhouse of sports depsite the state not having best of the infrastructure.
The women’s national team striker said people hailing from Manipur are naturally agile as their body structure is quite different from other players.
“Our inclination towards sports comes from our forefathers. We have a strong belief that we have sports in our blood. Manipur has produced so many Olympians and legends, and even if we don’t have the best infrastructure or facilities, we are very much attached to all kinds of sports,” AIFF quoted Grace as saying.
“This is why everyone says that Manipur is the powerhouse of sports. Our body structure is quite different from other players. Our agility and speed are very good,” she added.
Blue Tigers midfielder Amarjit Singh Kiyam, who captained the Indian side at the historic FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 and also comes from the state of Manipur (Thoubal), had earlier mentioned how everyone plays and follows different kinds of sport in the region.
“Everyone loves sports in Manipur, be it football, hockey, boxing or wrestling. There are lots of games that are popular here in Manipur and everyone follows them,” the 19-year-old mentioned.
“There are many Olympians from Manipur, such as the captain of the Indian women’s hockey team at the Rio Olympics (Sushila Chanu) and of course, everyone knows about the legendary Mary Kom,” he added.
He also spoke about how the U-17 World Cup sparked a paradigm shift in the mindset of the people in the state and how quickly football is growing in popularity.
“There is a sporting culture here in Manipur, especially in football. Whenever I come home I can see that in every corner and every ground, people are playing football. After the FIFA U-17 World Cup, small kids — even as young as 6 — have started playing football, with their parents supporting them,” said Amarjit.
“We often talk about European football culture and now, it has started here in Manipur too. The growth is happening and everyone is mad about football,” he added. (ANI)