Many sportspersons from the Northeast have learnt boxing and various forms of martial arts, and have proved themselves to be worthy of competing with talented players from the rest of the world. You may have heard of Mary Kom and Shiva Thapa, but one underrated sportsperson from Assam who needs to be recognized for his achievements is none other than Rajani Deori. He is one of the topmost Wushu players in India under 75 kg category.
Hailing from Dhemaji, Rajani has trained in martial arts for more than 20 years. He has represented India in the international circuit seven times, including at the glorious 2014 Asian Games in the Sanda (also called sanshou) discipline.
It was not an easy journey as he didn’t have much support from his family at the beginning and the society had a negative impression about this art. Even after facing repeated criticism, he didn’t lose hope. He was determined to build his livelihood through martial arts. He continued to practice even after joining the BSF (Border Security Force) as a normal duty employee.
The ultimate turning point was when he got selected for the Indian Army under sports quota in 2010. Since then, Rajani has been playing Wushu from the Indian Army.
Some of his noteworthy achievements are silver medal in the 34th National Games, Jharkhand in 2011; bronze medal in 12th World Wushu Championships, Malaysia in 2013; silver medal in 5th International Pars Cup Wushu Championships, Iran in 2015; bronze medal in the 9th Asian Wushu Championships, Taiwan in 2016 and more.
He shared that players from the Northeast are much ahead of their competition from other parts of India in terms of combat techniques and power. Rajani also added that many skilful players couldn’t come into the limelight because of financial problems and lack of support. He feels that sports authorities along with the government should take certain measures in extending a helping hand to such players.
Presently posted in Shillong, Rajani says that his biggest dream is to clinch the Gold Medal in the 2017 World Wushu Championships and the grand 2018 Asian Games to be held in Indonesia.
By Anurag Barman