Saikhom Bishworjit Son of Saikhom Tomba Singh from Naharup Makha Pat bagged the first place in the 29-34 age group and 2nd position in the overall ranking with a finishing time of 4 hours 37 min 21 sec, Laikhuram Bijenkumar Singh Son of Laikhuram Joykumar from Kongba Bazar secured the 1st position in 18-24 age group and 3rd position in the overall tally 4 hours 40 minutes and lastly, Kshetrimayum Kabidash Singh Son of Ksh Ingo from Kakching grabbed the 2nd position in the 18-24 age group.
TFM Report By RK Tayal
Securing 2nd and 3rd places in the overall tally, Saikhom Bishorjit and Laikhuram Bijenkumar Singh qualified for the Triathlon World Championships in 2023 after 3 Manipuri lads win big at this year’s Goa International IronMan 70.3, an international triathlon competition which kicked off at Goa from November 13, 2022.
Out of the 4 Manipuris who participated in the competition three finished in top 3 rankings of their respective age groups out of which 2 secured the 2nd and 3rd position in the overall tally.
Ironman 70.3 comprised of 3 main events which included, 1.9 Kilometer (Km) of swimming, 90 Km of Cycling and 10 Km of long distance running. This year’s competition saw over 1 thousand 400 triatheletes from 33 countries competing for the coveted top spots in the medal tally.
Saikhom Bishworjit Son of Saikhom Tomba Singh from Naharup Makha Pat bagged the first place in the 29-34 age group and 2nd position in the overall ranking with a finishing time of 4 hours 37 min 21 sec, Laikhuram Bijenkumar Singh Son of Laikhuram Joykumar from Kongba Bazar secured the 1st position in 18-24 age group and 3rd position in the overall tally 4 hours 40 minutes and lastly, Kshetrimayum Kabidash Singh Son of Ksh. Ingo from Kakching grabbed the 2nd position in the 18-24 age group.
2 triathlete, Saikhom Bishorjit and Laikhuram Bijenkumar Singh have qualified for the Triathlon World Championships, 2023 after securing 2nd and 3rd places in the overall tally. Speaking to TFM, Saikhom Bishworjit highlighted, he had competed in 2019’s Ironman competition and finished on top in both his age group category and overall rankings. He stated his interest in the sport took off in 2004 after seeing his brother, Saikhom Mani Singh, a former triathlete who participated in national and international competitions. He said that his official training began under the tutelage of coaches such as Oja Thouba and Nandakumar.
Bishworjit pointed out that he swam in the public swimming pools at Standard college, Kongba and Modern college, Porompat while practicing cycling and long distance running at deserted locations around Imphal. The State does not have proper training facilities for triathletes as such it is hard to find places to practice, specially cycling, he added. He maintained that he joined Indian army in 2010 and continued to play under the banner of the services team for some time. He expressed gratitude to Colonel Gurmeet Singh Virdy of 267 Engineering Regiment (Leimakhong) and Anivar Mukherjee of Team Mini Orange for supporting his passion and provising assistance in his training.
Bishworjit further drew the attention of authorities concerned in promoting and developing triathlon in Manipur. He said, the State numerous triathletes with immense potential but the lack of training facilities and proper funding has hindered the growth of the sport.
Meanwhile, Saikhom Mani Singh, brother and coach of Saikhom Bishworjit stated, he retired as an triathlete in 2017 and returned to Manipur in 2021 after his posting at Divisional Headquarter of the Indian Army at Leimakhong. He said, he began coaching his brother in January 2022 after his drop from the services team.
He stated that his brother’s training regiment was structured following the coaching and guidance he received during his training in Australia. Mani pointed out that there are no proper roads in Manipur to practice long distance cycling. The traffic congestion and the public’s utter disregard for traffic rules makes it very hard to train on road, he added.
He expressed discontentment with the workings of Triathlon Federation of Manipur and maintained that Manipur would rise to the top if sports official worked sincerely to provide assistance to athletes. Mani stated, he will set up a training centre in the near future to produce top triathletes in the State who can compete on the Olympic stage.