Khelo India 2022: Ladakh’s small contingent a winner all the way

Khelo India 2022: Ladakh’s small contingent a winner all the way

While boxing accounted for 10 of the athletes from the Union Territory and one in athletics – all of them have left on an arduous journey back home barring the six who are participating in the indigenous sport of Thang Ta.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Friday, February 10, 2023, 04:28 PM IST
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Thang Ta Coach of Ladakh, Mohammed Hassan |

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Talk of Leh and Ladakh, and one conjures up images of highest mountain passes, breathtaking landscapes, monasteries – and of course sub-zero temperatures. Pursuing any form of sport there against huge odds is quite a feat by itself and it’s on this score that the modest, 17-member squad at the Khelo India Youth Games has already proved to be a winner.

While boxing accounted for 10 of the athletes from the Union Territory and one in athletics – all of them have left on an arduous journey back home barring the six who are participating in the indigenous sport of Thang Ta. A traditional martial art of Manipur, which integrates a number of external weapons like the sword, spear and dagger – it was embraced by Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh followed suit.

‘’Two of my players have lost and fights for the other four are pending. I am not expecting any medals, but the Khelo India has given them a good competitive experience,’’ said Mohammed Hassan, the 25-year-old head coach of the Ladakh Thang Ta Association. ‘’In case you are wondering about my young age, I am still an active Thanga Ta fighter in the senior category,’’ Hassan told Khelo India Media over phone from Mandla, where the competition is taking place.

Thang Ta contingent of Ladakh

Thang Ta contingent of Ladakh |

As many as five indigenous sporting disciplines – Thang Ta, Gatka, Mallakhamb, Yogasana and Kalaripayattu have made their entry in the Khelo India Youth Games 2022 Madhya Pradesh. Thanga Ta, incidentally, has two styles – Phunaba _Ama (only sword fighting) and Phunaba_Anishuba (sword & kicking only).

Thang Ta is being practised in Ladakh

‘’The sport of Thang Ta is being practised in Ladakh for about four years now and the redeeming feature is our fighters did not look out of depth here. May be in another couple of years, we can start expecting medals from them,’’ Hassan said.

Asked how difficult is it to pursue any sport at such an attitude, Hassan said the positive thing in recent times is that a lot of emphasis is being accorded to sporting activities. ‘’Ravinder Kumar, the Sports Secretary, always gives a patient hearing to our problems. In Kargil, we have a boxing academy while I look after both forms of the martial arts myself,’’ the coach observed.

Asked how they will return home from Madhya Pradesh, Hassan said: ‘’We will take the train to New Delhi and from there we will reach Leh on flight. The athletes will then be dropped off at their homes.’’

This, in a way, sums up the kind of challenges that the Ladkah athletes are up against in their way of life – not only sport!

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