Junior world champion Linthoi Chanambam in no hurry to graduate to senior level
Linthoi Chanambam became the first Indian judo world champion at any level in 2022. Still just 17, she is in no hurry to fulfill her Olympic dream.
Linthoi Chanambam became the first ever Judo World Champion across categories last year in a historic moment for Indian sports, but she is in no hurry to graduate to the senior level.
The 17-year-old's step up to the senior level looks inevitable, but the cadet world champion wants to take her time with the decision while the senior team - including the likes of Commonwealth Games medallists Sushila Devi and Tulika Maan - competes in the biggest international events.
Before Linthoi's feat last year, no Indian judoka had won a single medal at any age group of the World Championships across genders. The youngster from Manipur is confident that she can also be the first to secure an Olympic podium.
"My progress has been going well. Last year, I was not having many competitions but this year I am playing in a lot of tournaments. I went to Croatia and Slovenia for training camps. After that, I was in Japan for one and a half months. I went across Europe for a few competitions after that," Linthoi told The Bridge about how her life has changed since the historic medal last year.
Linthoi has continued her domination at the age-group level. As recently as last month, she won the silver medal in the Judo Junior Asia Cup in China. But she is under no delusions about the step up to the senior level.
“I'm not planning for the senior level at the moment because I know my limits. I want to come fully prepared when I make that jump from junior to senior level. At the moment, I just want to do best in my category and my level,” she said.
How focused the 17-year-old world champion is can be evinced from the fact that she doesn’t watch her match videos.
“I don’t like to watch my games nor of the opponents I am playing. That is my coach’s job to do. I just want to focus on myself and what I can do better, not what I have done in the past,” said Linthoi, who trains at the Inspire Institute of Sports, Bellary, Karnataka.
The young judoka said her training routine is the same as others, but where she probably has an edge is in how she follows her regiment very strictly.
“I have a similar routine to others but I follow it very strictly. In the morning, I train for two hours before breakfast. After some rest, I spend some time with my physiotherapist for recovery. I train in the evening again,” she said.
Clear about her goals, Linthoi has a big year to look forward to in terms of getting ready for the big challenge of the senior level and the ultimate Olympic dream.