“London 2012 may forever change the image of the northern English county of Yorkshire from a rural idyll long past the glory of its Industrial Revolution heyday into an Olympic field of gold,” says Reuters in an article that discusses the fact that five gold medals have been won by Yorkshire residents.
“London 2012 may forever change the image of the north-eastern state of Manipur, from a state beset by problems past the past glory of its sporting heritage into an Olympic field of achievers,” one could paraphrase. After all, Manipur gave India one medal winner in Mary Kom and another super performer in Laishram Devendro Singh, who went down fighting vainly in his attempt to make to the medal rounds last night.
If Yorkshire had the heritage of glory during the Industrial Revolution, Manipur has a glorious heritage in sport. “The modern game of polo, though formalised and popularised by the British, is derived from Manipur where the game was known as ‘Sagol Kangjei’, ‘Kanjai-bazee’, or ‘Pulu‘.
Yesterday, a brand from Yorkshire, Yorkshire Gold Tea Bags, was quick to leverage the achievements of their citizens – five citizens of Yorkshire have won Golds at London 2012.
In Manipur, it must be something about the sporting heritage. Manipur boasts 7 indigenous outdoor games: Mukna, Mukna Kangjei (Khong Kangjei), Sagol Kangjei, Yubi lakpi, Oo-Laobi, Hiyang-Tannaba and Arambai Hunba.
Yorkshire was firmly in the public eye thanks to extraordinary performances in cricket. It is the highest performer in the CountyChampionshipwith a total of 30 championship titles, 12 more than any other county. Cricket legends Geoff Boycott, Len Hutton and Herbert Sutcliffe all played for Yorkshire. Yorkshire has more great sporting heritage – including the oldest horse race in England.
Yorkshire and Manipur share great sporting history. Maybe for Manipur, too, it could be something about the water — It receives an average annual rainfall of 1467.5 mm.
And Mary Kom could transform the image of the state – maybe she is the Herbert Sutcliffe or Len Hutton whom Geoffrey Boycott emulated – and Manipuris will emulate her.
‘There’s something about Mary,’ has been a favoured status update on social media in the past few days.
Maybe it should also say, ‘There’s something about Manipur’.