Sushila Devi Likmabam is yet another star from the state of Manipur. The 27-year-old female judoka was bestowed with the Arjuna Award in 2022 after bagging a silver medal in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. However, the female judoka’s success started in 2008 when she won a gold medal in the Asian Championship, her first international medal. Sushila drew attention again by winning the coveted gold medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and a gold medal in South Asian Games in 2019.
Sushila’s journey was not easy. Hailing from Heingang, East Imphal, her parents are farmers. Her elder brother Shilakshi, a national medalist in judo, was called up to the national team to participate in an international competition, but he could not make it as his visa was not cleared. Sushila used to play other games like football in her childhood. But she ultimately chose judo after drawing inspiration from her elder brother.
“I used to play other games in childhood. But my mother advised me to concentrate on one game and having watched my elder brother I got fascinated by the game. But we were from a very poor family. We had to do a lot of struggle in childhood to continue the practice. At the age of seven, I started training judo at a center in Khuman Lampak.”
Then in 2007, Sushila went to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Imphal and from there Sushila was selected to train at the National Center of Excellence in Patiala.
Sushila Devi’s Brave Heart
Sushila Devi got a severe injury on the toe of her right foot in practice just before the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this year. A couple of stitches had to be done. Even then, Sushila took part and bagged the silver in the prestigious tournament. In 2018, Sushila received a blow after suffering from a hamstring injury just before the Asian Games and was ruled out of judo for the next three months. Still, she did not give up. Coming back to the training she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, although she crashed out in the first round of the Games. Sushila clarified,
“The defeat in any competition strengthens me before stepping into the next competition. The defeat helps to make a proper analysis and recover perfectly.”
Desire to reach Mary’s Achievement
Sushila revealed just like all other sportspersons in Manipur, she is also influenced by legendary Manipuri boxer Mary Kom. She commented,
“Whenever I see Mary I touch her feet. She is a legend. Wherever I have gone outside the country people have responded to me saying that I am from Mary Kom’s state. It is always a great honor. I also have the desire to acquire the achievements Mary has earned. I also dream that someone outside the country knows Manipur by the name of Sushila Devi.”
Sushila Devi: Passion for Social Service
Glory is not all that Sushila is after. She has another passion. That is to contribute to society through judo and other ways. Sushila already has the tendency to stand beside the poor people in Manipur. She often donates food and clothes to the orphans staying in different homes in Manipur. She said,-- Advertisement --
“After I say goodbye to judo I will associate myself with any organization that serves the poor people in my state. Otherwise, I have the intention to train poor but talented judo players free of cost.”
Sushila, who is an employee of the state police, added,
“I have come from a poor family. I know the struggle of poor people. That is why I want to pay something back in the future.”