After the 2018 Asian Games, Roshibina Devi Naurem was welcomed to her hometown in Manipur’s Bishnupur district with much fanfare for winning the bronze medal. This time he returned from Hangzhou with silver – India’s second wushu silver – but five months of violence in Manipur will ensure any celebrations are muted.
After winning the medal, Roshibina (22) spoke emotionally about the situation. “Manipur is burning. Fighting is going on in Manipur. I can’t go to my village. I want to dedicate this medal to those who are protecting us and suffering there,” Roshibina said after winning the silver.
“I don’t know what will happen, the fight is on,” Roshibina added through tears. “When will it stop and go back to normal?”
He said he spoke to his parents on Wednesday and they asked him to focus on the finals and not get distracted by the Manipuri violence. “They told me to focus on the match, not on other things. My family is fine. I don’t talk to them regularly because my coaches say violence at home will distract me.”
In fact, his preparations for the Asian Games, even his time in Hangzhou, have been severely disrupted by extraordinary developments. His sports partner and friend, Onilu Tega was one of three wushu athletes from Arunachal Pradesh who did not travel to China due to visa complications.
The Wushu team describes itself as a family; The pool of athletes is small, that’s how prominent the sport is, and they spend a lot of time together. Not having their adopted sports family, as well as his real family, would hurt any athlete around, let alone one in a major overseas competition.
Another one for India
— Sony Sports Network (@SonySportsNetwk) September 28, 2023
And before her final, Roshibina made it clear who the medal was for: “I want to win (gold) for my three friends who couldn’t make it here. I’m used to being around Onilu Tega. We often train together and are good friends. Such a big In the event, it’s important to find someone you feel comfortable with,” he told PTI.
Complications in Arunachal Pradesh also denied Roshibina earlier this year, when the entire wushu squad was withdrawn from the World University Games in China after three players – Tega, Neiman Wangsu and Mepung Lamgu – were issued stapled visas. A medal was a real possibility, and the tournament served as important preparation ahead of the Asian Games.
On the wushu mat, however, Roshibina showed no signs of the stress she was under. Her display in her campaign in the women’s Sanda 60kg category was superb – at 5’4” tall, a pocket dynamo of aggression and swagger.
He treated his quarterfinal opponent Ayman Karshiga of Kazakhstan like a ragdoll, picking him up and taking him down multiple times, racing to 12 points and winning the bout in comprehensive fashion. His two inch height does not matter.
More from the final bout of Roshibina Devi (in red). pic.twitter.com/H9dcQEoYCv
-Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) September 28, 2023
Her semi-final performance against Vietnam’s Thi Thu Thuy Nguyen, a taller opponent, was not as impressive, but Roshibina was full of aggression – the Indian bulldozed her opponent off the mat at the last second. An instant fist pump of joy, a pure Cristiano Ronaldo-esque pose and a happy skip off the mat – Roshibina knew she had a shot at gold. China’s Xiao Wu stood in his way. and History of Wushu in China.
India has never won a Wushu gold at the Asian Games. China won 63.
Women’s sandao was not world class when Roshibina was born, with India’s history in the sport only beginning in 1989. A thousand-year-old sport in China, the pool of Chinese wushu athletes is so large that they rarely win repeatedly. – So even though Roshibina’s final opponent, Xiaoyi, was in his first major international final, he had the support of the entire Chinese wushu system behind him and the home court advantage behind him.
Roshibina’s bulldozing aggression no longer worked, as the 5’7” tall Xiaowei was relatively unmoved. Early takedowns put Roshibina on the backfoot, and it was clear the first round belonged to her opponent.
Roshibina responded with her own first throw-down in the second round to give hope of a decision, but Xiaoyi’s kickboxing skills were too good and Roshibina caught her square in the jaw. The bout was done, and the moment Blue got on the board for the second time, Roshibina knew her shot at the much-desired gold was gone.
Listen In: Roshibina on her much-deserved ��at #AsianGames2022
Having transformed from �� to �� at the Asian Games, Roshibina has improved her game and still has a long way to go! We got a chance to speak with him and learn about his morning performance and preparations for the future… pic.twitter.com/zgmb9K8UA7
– SAI Media (@Media_SAI) September 28, 2023
China denied Roshibina her sporting partner and friend, denied her a final appearance in 2018 and now denied her a historic gold. Yet, being the spiritual home of sports, it also gave everything to Roshibina – perhaps explaining the slightly pained smile she gave on stage as she received her silver medal.
He now has his sights set on the upcoming worlds in the US in November and the 2026 Asian Games in Nagoya, Japan (wushu is not yet an Olympic sport). “I’m happy but it didn’t happen [the gold]…but one day I will definitely be a champion. For that I will work very hard with all my being,” Roshibina said after her final.
‘All his existence’ is pretty much a guarantee, but one hopes that the next time the two-time Asian Games medalist steps on the mat, he will have friends and family in his hometown and peace.