Do not want to break hearts of Naga people: Swuro

Kolkata: Overwhelmed by the attention she is getting in Nagaland for being only the second athlete from the state to qualify for the Olympics, Indian women`s archery team member Chekrovolu Swuro says winning a medal in London would not just be a personal high but also an expression of her gratitude to her "tribe".

In 1948, Nagaland`s Dr Talirmen Ao led a barefoot Indian football team to become the first Olympian from the Northeastern hilly state bordering Myanmar.

Being the second Naga Olympian after Dr Ao, the 29-year-old from Dzulha village of Phek district of Nagaland is a popular figure in the state. In fact, chief minister Neiphiu Rio is all set to fly London with his entourage to cheer for Swuro during the July 27-August 12 extravaganza.

"There are prayers for me (at the Nagaland churches). The chief minister (Neiphiu Rio) has wished me luck personally. He is also likely to fly to London to cheer for us. It`s a proud moment for me," Swuro told PTI in an interview.

"They are very happy for me and doing every little thing possible for me. It`s an additional responsibility on me. I`m overwhelmed. I don`t want to break their hearts," said the sub-inspector with the Nagaland Police.

Swuro hoped that her Olympic stint would improve sporting infrastructure in the state. "We had to go through a lot of hardships to come here. We did not have any equipment, no facility. But there is no dearth of talent. Hope things would get better now. People now talk about me. Wherever I go, they follow me. I hope to return with an Olympic medal that would inspire my fellow Naga people.

 "There support means a lot for me. Now, it`s the time to give something back to them and to my tribe," Swuro, who belongs to the Chakhesang tribe, said.

A self-confessed foodie, Swuro said she would miss home-made food during the fortnight-long spectacle. "I had some of my favourite homemade delicacies before coming here (London). My parents had come to meet me before I left the training camp (in Kolkata). I`m really touched by their sentiments. It`s now my turn to live up to their expectations."

Her teammates – youngest Deepika Kumari and Laishram Bombayala Devi – call her Anga-di.
"We have been together for quite a long time now. In fact Bombayla and I are roommates. Spending more time together is important to get your best out in a team event," she said about the team, ranked second in the world behind Korea.

It was the elder Swuro, Vesuzolu, who brought her into archery. Crediting her elder sister for her success, Swuro said: "I grew up watching her when she competed alongside Limba sir (national coach Limba Ram). Now she has given up archery and busy with her family."

But Swuro said her next task is to nurture her brother Thupuvoyi, currrently sixth in the national rankings. "After the Olympics, I will focus on him. He is good and has it in him to go all the way."

Incidentally, there are reports that the state government was planning to build an archery academy in Swuro`s name, while a promotion from sub-inspector of police to deputy superintendent is under process.