Shillong, May 22: With two warring kickboxing associations in Meghalaya, kickboxers are finding it hard going to secure funding and that has led one of the state’s most reputed martial artists, Hameshaniah Suiam (pictured right), to take out a bank loan so that he can attend the 9th Diamond World Cup, organised by the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO) in Russia from 30th May to 4th June.
Kickboxing in Meghalaya is currently split between those operating under the aegis of the Meghalaya State Kickboxing Association (MSKA) and Meghalaya Association of Kickboxing Organisations (MAKO), led by Lorenzo Warjri and Donny Ranee respectively. Both organisations are at loggerheads and there appears to be little progress (or effort) on the part of the Meghalaya State Olympic Association or Directorate of Sports & Youth Affairs to sort out the mess.
It was announced back in February that Suiam, of Shangpung in Jaintia Hills, had qualified for the World Cup, along with four other Meghalayans – Pynnehbor Mylliemngap, Elbring Umbah, Monica Nongrum and Babit Kharsahnoh. They all fall under the MSKA banner.
Suiam is a four-time national gold medallist and has taken part in international events in Ireland and Hungary. At the latter, in 2017, he rose to world No. 28 in kickboxing.
A private fundraising drive is ongoing to get the kickboxers to Russia, but Suiam decided on trying for a loan as time was running out. In total around Rs 8 lakh is required for the five kickboxers to get them to Russia.
“There was no other option but to take the loan. Although we have tried so many times to get funds, it hasn’t worked out and as we speak I am finishing all the paperwork so that I can send the money in order to book my place among the other kickboxers from the country taking part in Russia,” Suiam said yesterday over the phone.
The participants should have already reached the training centre in preparation for the tournament, he added.
The bank loan is for Suiam alone. For the others, the MSKA is trying to secure the required funds from those willing to help.
When asked how he will repay the loan, Suiam, who is only in his early 20s, said that for now he wants to concentrate on his sport so that he attains his goal of participating in Russia and he hopes that his Meghalaya team mates can also get the help they need to be there with him at the World Cup.
(Photo credit: Lorenzo Warjri/Facebook)