Sushila Devi CWG 2022
Sushila Devi (left) during the medal ceremony at the Commonwealth Games 2022. Photo: Twitter/Team India

CWG: Sushila makes up for absence of judo in 2018 with medal in 2022

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Birmingham: Manipur’s Sushila Devi Likmabam lost a close final in the 48 kg weight class of women’s judo competition at the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Monday (August 1). She lost to multiple African Games medallist Michaela Whitebooi in a battle that could have gone either way.

It was the second silver for Sushila, who won her first silver in 2014 at Glasgow. In 2014, she lost to local Scottish judoka Kimberley Rennicks. Then came the disappointment of seeing her sport being dropped from the 2018 Games in Gold Coast.

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The sport has now been made a compulsory sport at the Commonwealth Games. In the past judo has been held at CWG Games in Auckland 1990, Manchester 2002 and Glasgow 2014.

Despite the sport being dropped in 2014 CWG, Sushila, now 27, kept herself motivated by making the team to the 2020 Olympics which were held in Tokyo in 2021. She lost in the first round, but she also knew that the Commonwealth Game in Birmingham would give her a chance to add to her collection of medals.

The final was a cliffhanger. Both failed to register any points but in the Golden Period, akin to extra time, the South African judoka edged the Indian out by waza-ari, which literally means half a point, the second highest after an ippon.

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The Manipur-based judoka also has a gold medal from the 2019 South Asian Games in her collection and represented India at the 2020 Summer Olympics as the lone representative for India in judo. Her other medals include silver in Hong Kong Opens in 2018 and 2019.

Sushila comes from Heingang Mayai Leikai in Imphal East district. Second oldest of four children, her inspiration was her uncle, Likmabam Dinit, an international Judoka player, who took Sushila to the Khuman Lampak in December 2002.

It was at the stadium there that she began her training under Sabitri Chanu of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Special Area Games (SAG) Khuman Lampak. She now trains with Jiwan Sharma.

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