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NE youth’s ‘pinky’ feat

- Maibam exhorts youngsters to take up sport

Imphal, Aug. 14: Manipur’s newest Guinness record-holder Maibam Itomba Meitei’s prescription for drug addicts in Manipur: join the gym.

Twenty-six-year-old Itomba, a resident of Shamushang in Imphal West, created a world record for “most consecutive pinky chin-ups”.

Itomba, weighing 51kg, made the winning attempt on March 15 in the presence of officials at the SAI regional centre here. He hoisted himself up on an iron bar with the help of only his little fingers 16 consecutive times.

Guinness officials gave recognition to his feat on July 24 this year. He received the Guinness certificate on Tuesday. “The most consecutive pinky chin-ups is 16 and was achieved by Maibam Itomba Meitei in Imphal, Manipur, India, on 15 March 2014,” the certificate reads.

Itomba achieved the feat after two of his earlier attempts had failed. The second attempt was made on October 14, 2012. He had been exercising since 2008 with the hope of creating a Guinness record. The entire episode on March 15 was video-recorded.

Itomba claimed there is no earlier Guinness record of most consecutive pinky chin-ups. He first tried with his two middle fingers and then shifted to his little fingers.

“Many youths of Manipur fall prey to drug abuse. My suggestion is they should join a gym to kick the habit or take up a sport to become a sportsperson. A sportsman will never take drugs,” Itomba said.

Itomba said he was tempted to take intoxicating substances like paan. But he resisted the temptation by joining a local fitness centre.

Manipur is one of the worst drug-affected states and the third-worst in terms of HIV-positive people in the country. The high rate of HIV-positive cases is because of drug abuse and sharing of needles.

“Manipuri youths are talented. My suggestion is shun drugs and show your talents through games and sport. Work hard and try to become a good sportsperson or a Guinness record-holder,” he said.

Challenge is in Itomba’s blood. Before he started his ironsmith business, he was a national-level weightlifter. He won gold medals in the All-India SAI weightlifting championships and in the 4th sub-junior boys national weightlifting championship in 2007.

“I started thinking of doing something uncommon after watching feats on television that made entries into the Guinness world records,” Itomba said.

Itomba today owns an almirah-making factory, which employs 10 people. His father died a few years ago and his mother is bed-ridden, so Itomba is the sole bread-earner for his family of five.

Itomba’s record is the third from Manipur. The first was M. Okendra Singh of Kumbi in Bishnupur district, who holds the record for his tallest topiary (duranta plant). Imphal’s Shija Hospitals and Research Institute made a Guinness record for successfully removing the world’s largest neck tumour in 2003.