As per the latest reports, 16-year-old Tababi Devi Thangjam has set a new record by turning out to be the first Indian to bag an Olympic medal at any level – senior or youth – in judo.
At 16, the silver-medallist has showcased the globe what strength of mind, willpower, and determination she has.
It is not stress-free to bag an honor at the Olympics – it requires loads of hard work. For Devi, it was even harder as her mom and dad were not helpful of her learning judo. They believed that judo was a sport for males only. So, she carried on training in secret.
“I would train in secret without telling them. When they first found out, they said that I wasn’t allowed. They would ask me, ‘Why are you doing judo, you might get injured? Study, or do anything but this.’”
The 16-year-old from Manipur told the official website of Youth Olympics 2018, “Sometimes they tried to stop me, but I’d always run away. They would get angry, but I loved (judo), particularly the fighting spirit.”
Tababi Devi frequently got involved in the street brawl – she was a brave lady – but discovered herself in the losing corner each time for the lack of forte. However that altered when she chose to join judo. She gained confidence and she could even see how people started treating her differently.
“But judo changed my life. I got stronger and suddenly everyone respected me. No one dared challenge me anymore, even the bigger boys.”
Judo changed her life in many ways. With her great success, she has managed to convince her family as well. They are now behind her one hundred percent.
Her coach Chingkheinganbi Huirem sees her own tale in Devi’s tale.
“I had to run away from my parents as well to do judo,” Huirem told the authorized internet site of Youth Olympics. “This is common in many poor areas of India. As coaches, we have to convince (parents) that it’s good for girls, it teaches them self-defence and self-respect. But when they see the success of girls like Tababi, suddenly every parent wants their daughter to be like her.”