Naorem Roshibina Devi won silver medal in women’s 60kg wushu at the ongoing 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou on Thursday. However, she said that she will not be able to go back to her hometown after the win.
A native of the Kwashiphai village in Bishnupur district of Manipur, Naorem belongs to the Meiti community in an area dominated by the Kuki tribe.
Manipur has been battling a deadly ethnic violence majorly between the Meiti and Kuki communities in the state, which has left numerous people dead since its onset in May.
“I do not get to go home at all,” Roshibina told reporters in the mixed zone after winning the silver medal. “The last time I met my family was when my father came to visit me at the SAI Imphal hostel in June. Even now, I cannot return to my village. I’ll go to the hostel.”
The 22-year-old, who broke into limelight with a bronze at the 2016 Junior World Championships, last spoke to her family on Wednesday and they asked her to focus on the final and not worry about the situation back home.
“They told me to focus on the match and not on other things,” she said. “My family is fine. I don’t speak to them regularly as my coaches say the violence at home will distract me.”
Roshibina, who had won a bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, put up a valiant display against home favourite Wu Xiaowei in the final before going down 0-2, to take home the silver medal.
She dedicated her medal to the people suffering from violence in the north eastern state.
“Manipur is burning,” she said through tears. “Fighting is going on in Manipur. I can’t go to my village. I want to dedicate this medal to those who are protecting us and suffering there.
“I don’t know what will happen, the fighting has been continuing. When will it stop and return to normal life of earlier times?” she added.
The Manipur government, on Tuesday, suspended the internet services in state after over 40 students were injured in protests against the killing of two Meitei teenagers who went missing in July.
This came just days after mobile data services were restored on September 23 for the first time in four months.