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Sushila Devi Likmabam, the Sole Indian Judoka at the Tokyo Olympics




Sushila Devi Likmabam is all set to make her debut at the Tokyo Olympics which will kick start tomorrow on July 23. And to those who are unaware, let me tell you that Sushila Devi Likmabam is the sole Judo athlete from India going to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

Sushila Devi Likmabam got selected for her Olympic Debut through the continental quota. She will be competing in the 48kg category at the event.

Her opening campaign would be against 2012 Olympic medallist Eva Csernoviczki of Hungary on July 24, Saturday.

Sushila Devi Likmabam – Know your Olympic Player

The 26-year Indian Judoka made it to the Olympics in spite of losing the first round of the World Championships which were held in Budapest. For Olympics, Asia has been allotted 10 continental quota slots each for men and women in Judo sport. Sushila who got 989 rating points was selected for her maiden appearance at the Olympics in Judo owing to a continental quota by standing at the seventh spot on the Asian list. The continental quotas are allotted based on a judoka’s ranking in the region.

Making her way to the Olympics has not been a smooth journey for Sushila Devi Likmabam. Especially after an injury during the 2018 Asian Games trials which lowered her spirits. She was totally devasted. It was her coach Jiwan Sharma who motivated her to make a fresh start.

Sushila Devi Likmabam – Fought Against Depression

Sushila in her conversation with a leading publication said, “It was devastating for me. I had gone back to my home and literally didn’t practice judo for almost 3 months. My coach Jiwan sir persuaded me to get back into the fold.”

However, Sushila emerged much stronger after the recovery of her injury as she never turned back from there.

In 2018, she bagged a silver medal at the Asian Open Judo Championships. Added to that, she was even successful in grabbing gold at the Commonwealth Judo Championships. She did not stop it all there. Sushila Devi Likmabam also won silver in 2019 at the Asian Open Championship.

Sushila Devi Likmabam – Early Life

Sushila Likmabam was born on 1 February 1995 in Heingang Mayai Leikai located in Imphal East district. Sushila had three siblings and she was the second oldest of all. She was interested in Judo from her childhood and started learning it from then itself. She even used to take part in a number of local events and emerge as a champion. Her hard work and determination towards the sport helped her in becoming a successful Judoka.

Sushila Devi Likmabam’s Early Judo Training

Likmabam Dinit, who was her uncle, was an international judoka. When Sushila was just eight years old, he took her to Khuman Lampak, a sports complex in Imphal. This has been the start of judo training for Sushila. She started to win laurels by participating in a number of local tournaments. She also received judo training from Sabitri Chanu of Sports Authority of India (SAI) as well as Special Area Games (SAG) Khuman Lampak. Sushila moved to Patiala in the year 2010 and started her training there. And then began her professional training in judo under Indian coach Jiwan Sharma.

Sushila Devi Likmabam – Her Achievements as a Judoka

She made it big for the first time by winning the junior national championship in 2008. This was followed by bagging a bronze medal at the Asian Youth Championship.

Sushila joined Manipur Police in the year 2017. She became a known face owing to her judo performance in the northeast. She made it big at the international level in 2014 by being a part of the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Indian judoka lost in the gold bout while playing against Scottish Judoka Kimberley Renicks. Sushila felt a bit disappointed for missing the gold. However, bagging a silver medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth games was the turning point in her life as that achievement made her gain name and recognition not just across the country but also internationally.

Below is the list of Major Achievements as a Judoka.

  • On the 5th of July, becoming the first Indian Judo player to get selected for the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Bagging a Silver Medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Bagging a Gold Medal at the 2019 Commonwealth Judo Championship
  • Asian Open Championships
  • Winning Silver in 2018 in Hong Kong
  • Winning Silver in 2019 in Hong Kong

Sushila Devi Likmabam – Took Training in France for Olympics

Sushila Devi Likmabam took one month of training at an Olympic preparatory camp in Chateau Gontier, France under French Coach Rodrigue Chenet so as to excel in her skills.

The Indian Judoka said, “It was a very fruitful camp for me after the debacle in the World Championship in Hungary, where I lost in the first round. It was a different experience and a much-needed confidence booster for me.”

Sushila Devi Likmabam – Olympic Event Details

Indian judoka Shushila Devi Likmabam will make her Olympic entry by facing the former Olympic medallist Eva Csernoviczki on the 24th of July, Saturday.  Eva Csernoviczki who hails from Hungary has won a bronze medal in 2012 at the London Olympics.

If Sushila happens to be successful in her opening round, she will be facing Funa Tonaki who has been world champion in 2017.

Sushila Devi Likmabam – Aiming to make it Big at the Tokyo Olympics

Earlier this year, the Indian team was insisted to take a back step from the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers held in Kyrgyzstan capital, Bishkek as two of her team members happened to test positive for COVID-19. And Sushila got upset with this.

She told ESPN, “First the entire team was turned away from the competition area and then we were asked to leave our hotel and shifted to another accommodation.”

Moreover, her recent performance in Tashkent Grand Slam 2021 held at the Humo Arena was also not up to the mark. She won the first round in women’s 48 kg against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlenko. But, she lost it in the next to Mongolian judo athlete Urantsetseg Munkhbat by Ippon.

And now, the Indian Judoka athlete is desperate to make it big at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. However, time will say if Sushila will be able to win a medal for the country and make us all feel proud of her.

Archana Kabra
Archana Kabra is a Freelance Writer and has been extensively writing stuff related to Technology and Entertainment. She is also an ardent music lover.
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