Mary Kom's comment on leaving Manipur flayed

Mary Kom's comment on leaving Manipur flayed

The strong sports fraternity in Manipur's capital was in complete awe, and disapproved of boxer M C Mary Kom's statement in a national daily's report that she would leave Manipur if violence continued, even as she on record to say she was misquoted.

While the recent escalation of violence in the state, particularly along the porous Indo-Myanmar border, has increased anxiety amongst people, reports of their sporting icon “threatening” to leave was like rubbing salt on wound.

On Friday, a national daily had quoted Mary Kom as saying: “It’s very difficult to decide whether to stay there or shift to some other state. I have my family there and also my academy. But we cannot continue to live in constant fear.” She was in Bengaluru for a training session.

She issued a statement on Saturday, saying: “...I humbly and sincerely declare that my statement about the insurgency situation in Manipur has been misquoted. I have not expressed or commented on any plan to ever shift from Manipur. Being the proud brand ambassador of the North-Eastern region, I would never think of making such an irresponsible comment.”

Many young Manipuri sportsmen, practising at the Sports Authority of India Regional Centre at Takyel on the outskirts of Imphal, lashed out at the boxer on Saturday afternoon.

“She is our idol. Many girls like me took to boxing to become like her. In Manipur, we are addicted to sports and it is a religion of sorts for us. This state will go on producing hundreds of Mary Koms. She should not have said this,” said J Thokchom.

“We have been living with violence in Manipur, and no one likes it. But we have got used to it. However, for a sportsperson, be it Mary Kom or Sarita or Devendro, it is not wise to talk this way. She may have been misquoted, but a sportsperson should remember that at in hour of crisis, they have to rise up since they are heroes for many in their own state” Thoiba Singh, husband of Indian International women boxer Sarita Devi, told Deccan Herald.

Battered by decades of insurgency and ethnic unrest, Manipur finds solace in its sporting traditions. The National Games were held in Manipur in 1999 in the shadow of insurgency. At that time, elaborate security arrangements were made fearing attack on sportsmen, but it went off peacefully.

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