Thangjam Joykumar, an international arm-wrestler decorated with 36 national medals and belonging to the Person with Disability (PWwD) category, is waiting for recognition from the Manipur government for his contribution to the state in the field of sports.
Thirty-eight-old Thangjam Joykumar of Ushangkhong Maning Leikai, Yairipok, Imphal East has been representing Manipur since 2010 in various arm-wrestling competitions from national to international level.
During an interaction with the Imphal Free Press at Hapta Kangjeibung where Joykumar was vending a handicraft stall at Sangai Festival, 2022, the arm-wrestler said the handicraft items were made by himself, apart from other items made by the PWDs.
In the stall, handicraft items, including earthen decorative items and other handicraft items, were seen.
By profession, he is an international-level arm wrestler. He started playing in 2010, he said, adding that prior to it, he was a bodybuilder for PWD and had been a national bodybuilding champion.
Following his career in arm wrestling, he had won 36 medals at national championships and had participated twice at international level where he won bronze in 2010 at Guwahati and silver in 2012 at Kazakhstan.
Joykumar said he will be participating in another international arm-wrestling competition in January.
Recently, during the arm-wrestling national competition held at Hyderabad in September, he won a bronze medal.
“For the first time I was facilitated by the social welfare department with a citation but no cash,” Joykumar said.
Presently, Joykumar is living with his wife, the sole bread earner of the family, and three children.
Manipur is known for its talented sportspersons with many presenting and succeeding at the national and international level, including Olympic Games. From 1984 to 2020, Manipur has produced 19 Olympians, who participated in five different disciplines at the Olympic Games, winning three medals for the country. Hence, Manipur is also known as the power-house of sports.
Earlier, Chief Minister N Biren Singh had said that the statues of 19 Olympians will be installed at the the Manipur Olympic Park.
To motivate sportspersons and Olympians of the state, the state government is constructing “Manipur Olympic Park” at Sangaithel, Imphal West which is going to be completed soon.
Joykumar said that to meet the financial conditions and to make people aware that PWDs are also part of the society, he opened the handicraft stall in Sangai Festival 2022.
Despite being a PWD, he wants to show the society that PWDs can also contribute for the state as well as for the nation, he added.
He appealed to Chief Minister N Biren Singh to take necessary steps for PWD sportspersons so that they can also contribute more for the state in sports.
He appreciated Minister Nemcha Kipgen for providing a stall at Sangai Festival without any charges. He also stated that if the government could provide at least three stalls for the PWDs, then they could show the society their abilities, skills and how much PWDs are trying to contribute to society like normal people.
Joykumar also appealed to the authorities concerned of the Sangai Festival for more accessible toilets as PWDs are facing problems with the present toilet installed at Sangai Festival, Hapta Kangjeibung for PWDs.