Arunachal’s Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega, and Mepung Lamgu overcome visa controversy with podium finishes in National Games 2023
The trio were denied visas for the Asian Games by China despite qualifying for the Asian Games.
Arunachal Pradesh’s Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega, and Mepung Lamgu recently made unfortunate headlines. They had qualified for the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games but were denied visas into China, rendering them unable to compete at the marquee event. Despite their disappointment, the trio made a remarkable comeback, achieving podium finishes at the National Games 2023 in Goa.
On Day 2 of Wushu at the 37th National Games, Nyemen Wangsu delivered a stellar performance, clinching gold in Taolu at the Daoshu event. This marked the 21-year-old’s second successive Wushu gold at the National Games, following her accomplishment at the 36th National Games in Gujarat.
Arunachal’s Mepung Lamgu, who arrived in Goa with an injured knee sustained in the recently held National Camp in Patiala, also secured the silver medal in the Women’s Tajiquan event. Meanwhile, Onilu Tega continued her progress in the Sanda category by defeating top seed Namrata Batra of Madhya Pradesh in the Quarter Finals of the 52kg category.
However, Onilu Tega was stopped in her tracks by Namrata Batra of Madhya Pradesh in the quarterfinals of the 52kg category.
The trio faced major heartbreak in September 2023 after diplomatic issues denied them the opportunity to reap the rewards of years of hard work that went into their qualification for the 2023 Asian Games. Speaking about the disappointment of not being able to compete in Hangzhou.
Nyeman Wangsu said, “Ever since we started training in Wushu, our ambition has always been to compete at the Asian Games, as it is the highest level of competition in the sport. So, we were heartbroken at first to not be able to compete due to something that was not in our hands.”
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Wangsu added that coach Premchandra Singh has been instrumental in helping her overcome the setback and set her sights on future competitions. She said, “Our coach understood our heartbreak because we worked so hard together, but then he took the initiative to help us move on. His guidance was that we are still very young with a bright future ahead of us.
“There is no point in dwelling on the past, as it will only hinder our practice. We have left the disappointments of the past behind and are now focusing solely on the future.”
As Wangsu and her teammates turn their focus toward the upcoming Wushu World Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, scheduled to be held from November 16 – 20, this strong showing at the 37th National Games is sure to provide them with strong momentum as they head into the competition.
Arunachal Pradesh has consistently performed well as a unit in the domestic Wushu circuit in recent years, always placing among the top teams at national championships. With the sport being introduced to the state for the first time in 2013, Wushu has slowly but surely risen in stature in the Land of the Rising Sun.
With few people knowing the technicalities of the sport back then, Nyemen was among the first batch of young athletes to take up a career in Wushu in the state.
“There wasn’t proper infrastructure in the beginning, but as we worked hard toward our goals and started winning medals, gradually the state granted us better training facilities for us to continue our efforts. Our coach Premchandra sir has worked tirelessly toward the growth of the sport, and he is the primary reason that everyone in Arunachal Pradesh is well aware of Wushu as a graceful Chinese martial art form now,” said Wangsu.
In the Women’s Changquan event, Arunachal’s 19-year-old Mercy Nagaimong also secured her second successive National Games gold medal. She said after her win, “At our residential academy in Itanagar, the training facilities are excellent.
“They are also building a new Chinese Wushu arena that will have all the necessary facilities for players to focus on their training. It feels very good that I have been able to win a medal for my state and give something back to my state.”