It took us a while to locate Sanjita Chanu’s residence.
My photographer and I, unfamiliar with the inner lanes of the leikais (colonies) in Imphal, were misled to another athlete’s home, when asking for directions to "Sanjita, the weightlifter’s" place.
Clearly, there are quite a few weightlifters in this town.
Bijen, her brother, with whom I had been corresponding about her case, leads us inside her modest home. It looks like the abandoned site of a protest with banners congratulating the lifter and placards demanding justice for her in equal numbers.
Rows of bricks and gravel were dumped right outside the entry to her tin roofed and walled house; a two storeyed building coming up right across.
"That’s our house under construction. It has slowed down since the scandal broke out”, he tells me. Her family says that they are yet to receive the 15 lakhs announced by the Manipur CM after she struck gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold coast earlier this April.
Described as ‘the original Chanu’, who is, ‘as under rated as she is under celebrated’, her successful comeback (in a new weight category) brought her back into the Indian sports hype after a considerable gap.
But the hype was short lived as her worst fear turned to reality only a month later.
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About the Writer
Makepeace Sitlhou is an Independent Journalist who covers politics, security, gender, human rights, governance, policy and social justice in the North Eastern states. She has written for several publications like Caravan, Scroll.in, The Wire, Asia Times, Vice India, The Huffington Post, Economic Times and others. Prior to this she worked with The Print and Amnesty International India.