New Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS): Martina Devi has become one of the biggest superstars in the history of the Khelo India Youth Games already.
In Panchkula last year, the Manipuri weightlifter created a total of eight National records and was congratulated for her feats by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for her performance.
At KIYG in Madhya Pradesh, Martina is set to make her fourth successive appearance in the Khelo India Youth Games and targets creating more records this time.
"I want to do better this time at the KIYG and create more records," said Martina, who trains at the Sports Authority of India National Centre of Excellence in Lucknow.
Following a wonderful campaign at the KIYG Panchkula, Martina went on to create records during the Khelo India Youth and Women National Ranking tournaments in Himachal Pradesh as well as in Modi Nagar also last year. She also established new records during the Weightlifting Nationals in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu.
All in all, an incredible 39 new records were created by her in 2022.
Martina credits her dad, who runs a shop in a village in Manipur, and Kunjarani Devi for paving the path for her into Weightlifting. "I was in class 4 when I wanted to get into Weightlifting. I used to get a lot of inspiration from Kunjarani Devi since childhood. My papa heard my request and when I was in class 5, he enrolled me in a Weightlifting school. But since then, balancing the sport and studies became very difficult.
"So, it was from 2019 only that I started putting my best focus in the sport. It was then that papa enrolled me in a different school when I was in class 8," Martina, who will turn 17 in March this year, added.
The turning point of her life came when she became a part of SAI NCOE Lucknow in 2020. "After joining the SAI centre in Lucknow, my game went to the next level. Everyone in the centre has helped me a lot and the coaching and infrastructure support I get is extraordinary," she mentioned.
Besides the constant national records in the Youth and Junior level, Martina bagged a silver at the Youth Asian Championship Tashkent in the +81 kg category last year.
Weightlifting events in the Khelo India Youth Games 2022 starts Feb 6 onwards and will take place in Indore.