In what was a historic and proud moment for Manipur and community, Thotmachan Awungshi Zimik sealed the first gold medal for Team Manipur in the ongoing 2nd edition of North East India Olympic Games in Meghalaya. And now, he is gearing up to participate at the national level.
Thotmachan Awungshi Zimik, son of Yurthing Awungshi Zimik of Phalee village in west of Ukhrul district, Manipur, won gold in the junior cycling (MTB-XC) in the event held at Shillong on Friday. He was given the medal during a ceremony on Saturday in Shillong.
When the Imphal Free Press caught up with Thotmachan on Sunday over his first tryst with gold, he said, "Winning gold medal in the ongoing NE Olympic games is my biggest achievement. Of all the competitions that I have participated in, today's event is my biggest one."
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He continued that he could make it to related competitions over the last two years as he could not afford a good cycle.
“In the year 2021, I participated in the Manipur state level competition and secured fourth place thanks to my friend’s cycle which I was using at that time”, Thotmachan recalled.
Post that event, he participated in the event held at Arunachal Pradesh and was the lone cyclist from Manipur and bagged 2nd position.
And ever since, there has been no looking back for this young lad from Phalee village in Ukhrul district amid struggles which is part and parcel of life. For some, when struggles come, they give up, and yet for some others it is an opportunity in disguise to sharpen and let loose their inner power towards a meaningful journey.
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Talking about his own life struggles, Thotmachan, who attributed his Olympic feat to his struggles, said, "I had my fair share of struggles like any other human being and I strongly believe that the struggles and hardships that I encountered and endured along the journey has made it possible for me to compete at a higher level”.
“Since I could not use my old cycle in today's competitions, my friends and families stepped in and with the little contributions that I received from each of them I bought a brand-new cycle. It was through their encouragement and support that I could achieve this feat today thanks to my new cycle”, Thotmachan poured out in deep gratitude to his fellow friends and family members who all stood behind him like a solid rock when he needed them the most.
Had there been no helping hand from their end, referring to his friends and family members, he would not be where he is today, he reiterated, acknowledging their encouragement and support he received from them.
Thotmachan joined the cycling profession right after passing the matric exam.
When asked about the big takeaway of winning the coveted gold medal in the North East Olympic Games, 2022, he said that bagging a gold medal means a lot to him. “It inspires me to work harder and go the extra mile and not rest on my laurels”, he added.
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The young cyclist is now working hard to participate and compete at the national level. He also urged the public to support and remember him in their prayers.
Thotmachan, who began to ride and practise cycle especially mountain biking at a young age recalled that he used to ride a BMX cycle at his village hill slope.
On his practice regime, he said that he had started practising prior to the North East Olympic Games in Imphal. “To be more precise, cycling, being my passion, I have been practising from before. So, I participated in the event with confidence”, he said.
In a message to the younger generation, he urged them to give all in whatever they do with dedication, self-belief and to always remember God in their pursuit.