YOUNG LIKE US By winning a gold in the epee individual category of the South Asian Fencing Championship, Shagolsem Jayanta Singh has proved that he is here to stay. V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM
He moves around with so much energy and exuberance that it’s hard to miss him. Manipur fencer Shagolsem Jayanta Singh is making waves in the sport he chose ahead of football. Jayanta even played in a local football league in his State.The 26-year-old felt that his future lay not in a team sport but in an individual discipline. That was when he decided to take up fencing in view of its popularity in the North-Eastern Region.
And, not surprisingly, Jayanta has already made a mark for himself at both the international and the national levels—winning a silver in the Commonwealth Championship and gold in the Senior Nationals. The latest gold in epee individual category in the second South Asian fencing championship in Hyderabad was just another reminder that he means business.
Jayanta, comes from a family which has a decent sporting background as his father Shagolsem Nabakumar was a football goalkeeper in Manipur. He is now gunning for bigger glory–win a medal in the next Asian Games. “Well, if everything goes well, no better feeling than making it to the Olympics too. But that is a huge task,” he says with a big smile.
“We were unlucky to miss a medal in the last edition as we had to miss a teammate,” recalls the fencer, who first won an international medal (silver in the epee team event) in the Thailand meet at 2010. For someone who credits Voleshor of Manipur for fine-tuning his raw talent at the Sports Authority of India also playing a big role, Jayanta feels that recognition for excellence in fencing is not certainly of the expected levels.
Interestingly, Jayanta doesn’t like to watch cricket. “It is boring. I can’t sit for six hours to watch a match. I now love any sporting event which gets over in less than 10 minutes,” he jokes. Unlike many of his age group, this fleet-footed fencer, who works with the Manipur Police Department, has a clear-cut vision and a plan. “If I don’t perform consistently and realise my dream of winning an Asian Games medal, then I will stop competing and focus on coaching young talent,” he says. He loves to browse the net during spare time.
“Well, my best companion is the Internet as I enjoy interacting on Facebook,” he signs off, before joining the team members to collect the gold medal at the valedictory function of the South Asian meet.
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