Naorem Roshibina Devi’s path in fighting was pre-destined even when she was a child. Roshibina would pick fights with the boys in her neighbourhood in Bishnpur, Manipur.
“ Game khelte khelte jhagda ho jaata hai. (Playing would turn into fights). Dad used to say that I would definitely end up in sports,” remembers Roshibina as she convinced her father, who is a farmer, to let her take up Wushu Sanda as a career option.
Her father’s approval would be vindicated once again – Roshibina has a bronze in the 2018 Asian Games – when she fights for the gold medal at the Asiad on Thursday.
At the Xiaoshan Guali Sports Centre on Wednesday, Roshibina overpowered World Championship silver medallist Thi Thu Thuy Nguyen of Vietnam 2-0 to make the women’s 60kg Sanda final. It was India’s second final in the same, after Sandhyarani Devi Wangkhem at the 2010 Asian Games, who won the silver medal.
But Roshibina now has a chance to win India’s first gold in the discipline at the continental games.
The 23-year-old was the aggressor throughout the match, effecting a takedown as early as the sixth second.
Thi Thu managed to hold her off by going for the Indian’s legs but in the following move, Roshibina picked the Viet up and slammed her on the mat in an emphatic takedown. From there on, Roshibina was in complete control as she clinched the win in two rounds.
“I was confident right from the start. But I slipped up a little at the start then, sir’s helped me free my mind. After that, I didn’t look back,” said Roshibina after the win.
Roshibina has no time to reflect on this win as she will be back to take on China’s Wu Xiaowei on Thursday morning for her gold medal match.
Having won the bronze medal five years ago, with a fourth-place finish, she is now ready to give everything out on the mat to bring home the gold.
“ Desh ke liye jaan lagake kheloonga (I will give my life to play for gold),” said Roshibina.
Roshibina had undergone preparation under the national wushu coach Kuldeep Handoo and assistant coach Rajesh Kumar Tailor in the Sports Authority of India (SAI) camp.
But the last week has not been a smooth build-up for the combat fighter. Last week, her friend and sparring partner Onilu Tega was among three Indian wushu participants from Arunachal Pradesh, who were denied visas by the Chinese government for them to compete here.
“She didn’t come this time because you know why. She was also among the best candidates for a medal,” said Handoo.
On the situation, she added, “It’s not a difficulty [on the loss of sparring partner] because there are the guys also here. So we have been practising well. She couldn’t come so there is sadness in that. We have all been together like a family. The sirs (Handoo and Rajesh) were also very sad. Whatever had to happen, has happened now.”
- List of lowest totals defended in ICC ODI World Cup
- England vs Sri Lanka LIVE Score, World Cup 2023: Willey strikes twice as SL loses two early wickets - ENG vs SL updates
- NBA 2023-24: LeBron James, Lakers face Suns, eye first win of new season
- NBA 2023-24: Bucks, newest star Damian Lillard open against 76ers
- Former NBA star Dwight Howard denies sexual assault lawsuit filed by Georgia man