Maisnam Meiraba Luwang, a 12-year old young badminton player from this tiny state is becoming a bright star in the horizon, as he has snatched the Rank No 1 in the list of Indian Badminton players’ (for under-13 category), by scoring a grand total of 929 points (wherein his BAI ID is 6925). And, according to Badminton Association of India (BAI website), he has surpassed the second rank holder Anirudh (461 points) of UP by 469 points.
And now, Meiraba is becoming a new young badminton wizard not only of the state but for India too, who is now equipped to reveal his spirit and talents to the world. He has started overpowering his challenger at the international level tournament, as well. And now, he is exercising consistently and steadily to shoot for Olympic Games to brought home a medal and laurels for the nation.
And recently, Meiraba stood at the championship-stand thrice, one at international and another at a national level tournaments. Firstly, he took the championship honour, for both Single and Double at AROS CUP Youth International Badminton Tournament, 2014 at Denmark (for U-13 category) after knocking down five contenders from German, Denmark and England by butting 5 rounds at single boys category. And for U-13 double category, he beaten-up Simon Bay and Mouritz Troels from Denmark along with his partner Rory Easton from England the tournament was held on 17th to 20th April 2014.
And, secondly at national level (for under-13) he took the title for champ at ’59th School National Badminton Championship, India’ which was held at Agra, where he overpowered Pawan Krishna from Andhra Pradesh. And, among the 10 players from the state that took part at the tournament, Meiraba Luwang is the only one who brought laurel wreath in the state, in which 5 players are picked out for below 14 category, and another 5 Players for below 15 category in which the entire team from the state was guided by his father Romesh Luwang as Team Coach and Athoi Kangmei as Team Manager, who’s also a physical teacher at state Sport deparment.
“I strongly believe that I will be able to bring a medal from Denmark, if I play well then I will be able to win”, this is what Meiraba confidently said to Manipur Times, in an exclusive meet up at his residence located at Sega Road, Khawairakpam Leikai-Imphal, before he left for Denmark and Agra tournament.
He further stated to Manipur Times, “What I’ve been pondering and dreaming genuinely is to play at Olympic Games, to bring home the medal, and I don’t wish to take a break just after owning a medal but would like to continuously work hard to receive more medals again and again”.
Maisnam Meiraba Luwang is the eldest son of M Romesh Luwang and M Ratana Devi. His father, M Romesh Luwang, is a badminton coach (NIC), who was once a national badminton player and a champion from the state. And he has spent nearly 14 years (1983-1997) in the badminton court, and a holder for ‘Best Player’ title during his time. He was adjudged winner in NE Zone University competitions for more than 4 times.
At international level, Meiraba bagged his first championship medal from an international tournament that was held at Rishon Lezion, Israel (Israel Junior International Badminton 2013) where he took and brought home 3 medals by becoming himself the first Manipuri U-13 badminton player to brought medals from international tournaments, by registering wins in three events at Israel Junior International Badminton 2013. And the three matches that he battled was Boys Single U-11 years, Boys Doubles U-13 and Mixed Doubles U-13 years.
Widening Training and Success Horizon:
From the early month of 2013, Meiraba started his intensive training at Tata Prakash Pankukan Badminton Academy, Bangalore. He has now earned a permanent berth in the Academy, elevating his status from a temporary basis. And between 2010 -to-till-date, Meiraba has won a total of 19 medals in various tournament, championing in the under-13 and under 15 categories. So far, feathers in his cap included six International Gold Medals, four National Gold Medals and one Silver Medal and nine State Medals.
On 20th March, 2014 Meiraba has left home for Tata Prakash Pankukan Badminton Academy, Bangalore for an extensive training and headed off to Roende, Denmark for TRIF’s Easter training camp and tournament for Hildenborough Badminton Club, Denmark. Some junior players from Hildenborough Badminton Club, Denmark competed with him at Yonex Aros Cup Youth International -2014, 17th to 20th April at Viby, Denmark.
My Father, My Guru:
Meiraba’s first and foremost guru was his father, Romesh Luwang during his initial periods, who had versioned his son’s path. He gave his time to pave the journey for his son’s triumph. He regularly spared nearly six hours a day for his son’s coaching; morning 2 hours before school and evening 4 hours after school.
When MT enquired about the training structure of ‘Tata Prakash Pankukan Badminton Academy’, Meiraba recalled, “In the morning, 6am to 7am is fixed for fitness training, and then from 9:30 am to 1pm is for badminton training, and the training continued after 2:45pm till 5pm. We take dinner at 7:30pm; after that we can study or sleep.”
Meiraba is reading in Class-8 in Shishu Nistha Niketan, Imphal. Since childhood, he loved games and sports, and did not miss any sporting items held annually during Yaoshang (Holi) festivals. Meiraba brought home prizes from the sport meets organised by various local clubs.
Romesh said that Meiraba started playing badminton scintillatingly from age of five. He added, “When he attained 7 years of age, he started winning state championship under 10-category. Meiraba possesses some gifted talents, and I being a badminton coach also loves him to play the game. And what I have observed about him is that he is a quick learner. We both analyse the tricks and techniques performed by others players and discuss together most of the time”.
He said, “As a father, I am maintaining contacts with coaches from China, Malaysia, Thailand at personal level so that his pursuit for Olympic medal is achieved. Meiraba’s target is to win an Olympic Medal, and that is what OGQ (Olympic Gold Quest) desires. That is why he has been selected for the scholarship. From the next year, he will play in under-15 category.”
According his father Romesh Luwang, Meiraba is also the first youngest recipient of Olympic Gold Quest scholarship from the northeast region under the Junior Scholarship Athlete (of under 13 category). And till now, none of the young player from regions hasn’t received such scholarship in any kind of sports for under 13 Category. The Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) is a program of the Foundation for Promotion of Sports and Games which’s a non profit making (Section 25) Company, which aims to create a level playing field for the athletes to enable them to be competitive at the highest level of sport, founded by Indian sporting legends Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone. OGQ’s first test was in the London 2012 Olympics and 4 out of the 6 Indian medallists were supported by OGQ which provide a monthly scholarship and mentoring OGQ team.
When MT enquired about the difficulties he has met, Romesh said, “I have faced a lot of difficulties to get him reached at this level. I faced many financial challenges during the initial stages in buying equipments, accessories like racquets etc. Besides this, sometimes we spent a lot in travelling from one state to another to participate in tournaments at initial stage. However, I have got a little relief as ‘YY, Yonex’ has sponsored Meiraba’s equipments and accessories for a tenure of 4 years.
Manipur Badminton Association (MBA)have also expressed their happiness for Meiraba’s continues victories and his elevating career to Manipur Times, while after a reception function for Meiraba that especially organised by MBA at its Indoor Stadium near DM college on the day of Meiraba arrives Imphal from Denmark.
And one member and a vice-president of MBA lauded Meiraba’s father Romesh Luwang for his extra-efforts given towards his son Meiraba for his advancement in performances. And, he further maintained that Luwang’s enthusiasm and fanatical attitude toward the game is very rare and unique, comparing with other parents. So, this is the one reason why his son was enable to become a badminton Champ since from his tender ages.