Guwahati: Lenien Jamir, promising tennis player from Nagaland who has won a prestigious athletic scholarship in Manmouth University in the United States, says this is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
Jamir will join as an undergraduate student majoring in International Relations in the New Jersey-based university’s Honors School.
The 19-year-old athlete, who hails from Mokokchung district, said she always hoped to go to a university in the US, a dream she says she has fulfilled by staying focused and training well.
“It is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and is going to be a whole new chapter for me. I don’t remember my life before tennis. I have been balancing my studies as well,” Lenien Jamir told ThePrint.
“Because of board exams, I could not go on tours. I stopped playing tennis to prepare for exams. But once it got over, I started playing college tennis and trained for it. Looking at colleges, I wanted to go the US,” she added.
Her departure, scheduled for August, got delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She will now travel to the US on 7 January, 2021. Jamir has been based in Guwahati, Assam, since the early 2000s.
Started playing tennis as six-year-old
The women’s tennis team of Monmouth has chosen Jamir to represent the university in the US Collegiate Tennis circuit.
Jamir started playing tennis when she was barely six-years-old, and her family decided to move to Assam to ensure better facilities.
“We came to Guwahati around 2001-2002. The challenge in any hill-state is the availability of big open spaces. We have limited facilities in Nagaland, for which she had to practice in Assam,” said Lenien’s father, Amba Jamir.
Amba credits his daughter’s success to her “encouraging” mother Meenakshi, who is from Haryana.
A proud coach
Jamir’s coach, Bedanta Buragohain, said this is the second time that she has got a chance to go to the US. Lenien Jamir underwent training under the All Assam Tennis Association (AATA), of which she continues to be a member. Jamir has won over 20 AITA domestic singles titles so far.
“I am overjoyed. I have known her since 2008. She is very talented. She got a chance to go to the US at the age of 14, but she was very young then. Since 2016, she has been practising for two hours everyday,” Buragohain said.
Congratulating Lenien, BJP national spokesperson Mmhonlumo Kikon said, “Talent, when properly nurtured, will go a long way in making champions of our players in the global arena.”