This 27-yr-old Muay Thai Coach from Sikkim has brought laurels to the state!
Mani Rai is the youngest son in the family. He studied till class 8 in Tashiding Senior Secondary School and then he abandoned his studies due to circumstances. Thereafter, at the age of 13, he joined the Shitoryo Karate and became a black belt first dan. Later in the year 2005, he joined Kickboxing camp and turned out to be a kickboxer participating in various state level events under the banner of Sikkim State Kickboxing Association. For almost six years he played kickboxing and from April 2011 he was advised by one of his mentor R.B Rai to explore the world of Muay Thai and excel through his hard work and dedication. Mani Rai then onwards has been creating history with his skills and has been passionately living Muay Thai. He attended his first Muay Thai coaching camp in Hyderabad. Rai happens to be the one who along with his four other inmates brought Muay Thai in the state of Sikkim.Sikkim State Muay Thai Association has been registered under the Government of Sikkim but still, the Muay Thai has not been included in the recognized list of sports curriculum in the country or in the state. Despite the fact, the sports isn't recognized and the financial constraints one faces who wants to pursue Muay Thai professionally, yet the young Mani Rai is still soaring high with his dedication and commitment towards Muay Thai.
Mani Rai has brought laurels to the state of Sikkim and the country by winning many medals in different national and international championships.
He represented India in Muay Thai World Championship 2012 held at Bangkok and successfully bagged bronze medal. Likewise, he also participated in Asian Championship 2013 in Vietnam where he won the bronze medal and in 2013 itself he participated in Muay Thai World Championship again held in Bangkok, Thailand.
Mani Rai also participated in various national championships held at Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Kolkata and has successfully bagged many medals and accolades.
Currently, he is providing training to more than 300 trainees in the south and west district of Sikkim. Few sponsors have come ahead to help him set up camps and fulfill his dreams. He has already conducted around 7 camps in the state of Sikkim and looking for more in days to come.
"Though the sport I coach and train children for, may not be recognized or included in sports curriculum as for now and nor do I get a salary for training many but I am doing it all so voluntarily because I want to train many, especially women for self-defense and young children to stay physically and emotionally fit. Hope one day the sport will be recognized and our men and women can shine more and make everyone proud" said Mani Rai.
Mani Rai is struggling yet he is compassionate about the sport. He eagerly awaits the day, when the sport as Muay Thai will be recognized in the country and be a part of the sports curriculum thus helping many to explore the sports and make state and country proud.