The 16-year old Tababi created history by winning India a first ever Olympic medal in Judo earlier this week when she won the silver in the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina. But before that, the daughter of a fish vendor mother and a labourer father had to come through a host of difficulties in her childhood, growing up in a small village in the North Eastern state of Manipur.
She got introduced to the sport without her father's knowledge and would practice diligently in secret with the help of her older cousin. Eventually, she won medals and her father's approval, before being scouted by coaches at the Inspire Institute of Sport, where her talent has been nurtured by the IIS Judo program, which has helped her develop as a judoka and win multiple national and continental cadet gold medals. While only 16, she hopes to qualify for the next Olympics in the spiritual home of her sport, and is confident of a good show in Paris 2024 where she hopes to bring India a rare martial art medal.
18-year old Aryan from Mumbai is already one of the country’s top distance freestyle swimmers, with the national short course records in the 800m and 1500m both under his name. His prodigious talent in the water was identified by the JSW Sports team over 4 years ago and he has been been based in South Africa under the guidance of South African National Head Coach, Graham Hill, since 2015. Earlier this year, Aryan joined Auburn University as a freshman and is now competing in the US collegiate circuit.