Sprinter From Manipur
Born in a quaint town in Manipur in 1990, Punshisana Mutum, was the fourth and the only male child to his parents. Unfamiliar with ‘learning disabilities’, it was not easy for his parents to comprehend reason behind his repeated failures in school examinations. He reached a point where he had to drop mainstream academics shattering dreams of his parents who considered their son to be a star.
Following a great deal of persuasion and motivation for alternative schooling, Punshisana’s parents got his IQ assessed and placed him in the care of a Special school. Punshisana has an IQ of 51 and through his special school joined the Special Olympics program in 2008. He was trained in athletics and practised Long distance running in the NGARIYAN HILLS under guidance of his trainer, Konthoujam Abungcha. Punshisana had to practice in the up hills at least 3-4 hours in the morning to build up endurance and stamina. He competed in the local programs of Special Olympics. He got a chance to participate in the National Athletic Championship held at Anantapur (A.P). He won 1st place in 3000 metre Run and also gold medal in 5000 metre Run and was selected from Manipur to represent India at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2011 held in Athens.
At the World Summer Games (Athens) Punshisana competed in the half Marathon and 3000m run. He won Gold in Half Marathon clocking 01.31.27 hrs beating the 2nd placed Kalukula Raphael M of Tanzania(Raphael clocked 1hr 35min 21sec) by 3 minutes 54 seconds. In 3000 metre run he was placed 4th but wining the marathon was truly an achievement close to his heart. A hero welcome was accorded to him at Imphal Airport. A series of Felicitation Programs were held in his honour and other participants of Athens, 2011.
Punshisana was not always a calm and cheerful person as he is now. His family often grappled with his temper tantrums. He was short tempered, often throwing objects for the smallest reasons. He found it difficult to remember things and also to adjust to different situations. Initially, unable to run on the track during practise sessions he even disturbed fellow runners.
“Participating in sports camps, observing his peers, listening to instructions and travelling brought about a significant change in him. His life changed after joining Special Olympics, he is accepted by our society.” – Dr. MY Singh, Area Director, SO Bharat- Manipur.
Punshisana, now 26yrs , searched for a suitable Govt. job and cash incentive. Though he didn’t get much support over here, he assists in the Canteen in a private school run by his father and is also happily married.