Wushu athlete Mepung Lamgu has gone incommunicado since being denied visa to travel to China for the Asian Games, leaving her family members in Arunachal Pradesh worried and clinging to hope that she wouldn't take any "extreme step".
The 20-year-old is one of the three wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh who were denied visas to travel to China for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
She was "crying inconsolably" when her brother Gandhi Lamgu, a doctor in Itanagar, last spoke to her just after the news broke on Thursday. He hasn't been able to contact her since that conversation.
"Now she's not even taking our calls, and it's coming switched off. So we are also very worried about her, kahin kuch kar na de ro ro ke (hope she doesn't take any extreme step as she is crying inconsolably)," Gandhi told PTI from Itanagar.
He has not even shared this development with their parents as they would be worried back home in Seppa, a remote place about 200 kilometres from the state capital.
"I'm also in a difficult phase of my career, I can't even take leave and I am also not financially sound. So dad would be worried and I have not told them. The phone network coverage is also poor there. I didn't want to disturb them emotionally," he lamented.
It was Gandhi, who ensured that Mepung pursued her dream in wushu.
Mepung, who competes in wushu taolu-taijijian and taijiquan events, along with two other female wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh -- Nyeman Wangsu and Onilu Tega -- were denied accreditation, which also works as visa, for the Asian Games that officially gets underway on Saturday.
The trio were scheduled to fly out of India on Friday night with eight other members of the wushu contingent but were forced to stay back without proper clearance as their accreditation could not be downloaded.
This was not the first time the Arunachal athletes faced such an issue for an event in China.
India had pulled out of the World University Games in Chengdu in July in response to stapled visas being issued to athletes from India's northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
"When I spoke to her last she was crying like hell yesterday. Then we had exchanged few words on WhatsApp.
"She's really drained emotionally, not talking to anyone in the family. I just told her we can only try. Being an elder brother, I tried my best to make her understand the reality but she's too young.
"We are trying our best but we are helpless. I'm sure there will be many more opportunities ahead in future. I just told her this.
"This has not happened for the first time. We have been facing the same issue. But our reach is not that far." Daughter of a police constable, Mepung has six siblings including her eldest brother Gandhi.
"When she was in class six, she was really meritorious but she was very keen on becoming a sports person and become a wushu athlete.
"So, as a responsible brother, my dad and I decided that she should follow her dream and put her in our renowned sports school Sangeladin Sports School, got enrolled in class six. She has not stopped since then." Mepung made her first mark as a junior by winning a bronze in the International Wushu Championship in Georgia in 2016.
She then went on to win two gold medals in Moscow Wushu Star 2022, and this year she won a bronze in the same meet at Moscow.
She also shone at the Gujarat National Games, returning with a gold medal and then visited her hometown in Seppa.
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