He was in the state team in the 52nd National School Games (U-17) (Chandigarh-2006), the XII Sub Junior national Hockey Championship (Bhimavaram-2006), the III Junior National Hockey Championship (Guntur, AP-2007), 34th Junior national Hockey Championship (Chennai-2007), 13th Sub-Junior national Hockey Championship (Bhopal - 2008) and the 4th Junior Hockey (Hyderabad-2008). Kothajit was adjudged best center-half of the Tournament in 37th ATS Nehru Junior Hockey (U-17) Tournament (Gurgaon-2008).
Kothajit was included in the Indian 2nd U-16 Boys Hockey Team (Boys Asia Cup in Dhaka, 2007-8). He played in the winning team in 2nd Manipur State League 2008-09 and was adjudged as best player in the 11th Dr. Kanti Mukherjee Invitation Hockey Tournament (2008-09). He also took part in Senior Nehru Hockey tournament in Delhi in 2007.
In 2009, Kothajit played at the XXII North East Games in Agartala when Manipur came up in second position and in 2011, he played for the state in the 1st Senior National Hockey Championship (Men) at Bhopal. In February this year, Kothajit played for India in Olympic qualifying match in New Delhi. In May 2012, Kothajit played the Men’s Four Nation Olympic Test in London and the 21st Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia where India team stood at third position. On the eve of London Olympics, he took part in Olympic tour in Spain from 1-18 July.
In fact, Khadangbam Kothajit has travelled a rough road from his poor family and state infrastructure to being a qualified player in London Olympics. He is presently an employee of Indian Oil Corporation, Delhi on probation.
Kothajit’s disgrace on two counts during the 2012 Olympics didn't deter him to aim for future Olympic Games. In spite of his excellent performance in qualifying rounds, he was not given opportunity to show off in the London fields. He was again excluded from the state reception ceremony. There is still apprehension whether the discriminating attitude of Indian sports administrators towards players of north eastern region was a factor responsible for Kothajit’s inability to get a berth in the field. Again after the London Games, Kothajit was excluded in state felicitation due to misunderstanding at government level. Thanks to Manipur Olympic Association and the Manipur Hockey for their timely intervention in convincing the Olympian status of the player.
The Chief Minister, who also holds the sports portfolio finally felicitated Kothajit and awarded him a cash incentive of Rs 20 lakhs. Such a silly misunderstanding should not happen again. The youngest player in Indian team deserves all kinds of encouragements and support, as his being qualified for Olympics is a matter of pride for us all. He is the third Hockey Olympian of the state after P. Nilakomol and Ksh. Thoiba. The real talents of a good player can not be forbidden by the tendencies of discrimination and administrative negligence.
Manipur indeed is a fertile soil for grooming hockey players, may be because of our forefathers’ excellence in the indigenous Kangjei game. In addition to the three Olympians - P. Nilakomol, Ksh. Thoiba and Kh. Kothajit, Hockey has so far produced two Arjuna awardees - Tingongleima Devi and Surjalata Devi from among the state women players. The state has had a number of international players of repute and there are hundreds of promising young Hockey players under preparation for fame. In spite of the enough prospects and potentials, the state is yet to have its second Astro-turf field for practice of the young players. Moreover, the only existing turf ground at Khuman Lampak lacks proper maintenance and is quite insufficient to accommodate the practicing players. Hockey now requires the state government’s attention.
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