- Sujal Pradhan, NET Correspondent, Sikkim
Seventeen power lifters from the northeastern state bagged 30 medals (21 gold, 8 silver, 1 bronze) during the 11th National Benchpress & Deadlift championship 2022, held recently at Haryana, Sonipat.
Edu Tshering Kaleon, the international record holder in Iron Game bagged ‘Strong Woman of India dead lift (senior) title’. Likewise, Reshma Bhutia, bagged ‘Strong Woman of India Benchpress (senior) title’ and Thinlay Wangdi Bhutia bagged the title of ‘Strong Man of India Deadlift in junior category’.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Edu highlighted the struggles faced as a sportsperson in the state, due to corrupt management in the organization, which forced her to resign and pursue something new & clean.
“Myself & Reshma have created history by being the first women lifters to build a team & participate in the nationals and earn medals right away,” said Edu.
She further added that despite financial crunches, the duo managed to fund the players and bring back laurels to the State.
“We are lucky to have a leader who is pro-sports and extends unwavering support to athletes, but the sports organizations or agencies somehow fail to deliver justice to the players by misusing funds designated to the players which is completely unfortunate,” mentioned Edu.
Our federation, which has yet to be registered, seeks to work honestly and entirely for the benefit of athletes.
Reshma, on the other hand, emphasized how women athletes confront gender bias, and how many of them had to overcome significant obstacles even while participating during this event.
“Our fraternity members were harshly critical and discouraged, but it didn’t deter us. Support from Krishna Kumari Rai, the Chief Minister’s wife, increased our spirits, and we are grateful,” Reshma remarked.
The duo now aims to bring more athletes, host and compete in recognized events, which will help participants qualify for government incentives and generate employment opportunities.