Oinam Bemebem who has contributed lot in the field of Indian women’s football will receive the prestigious Arjuna award 2017. She will receive the award from the President at the presentation ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 29. She will be the 25th footballer to win the award, the last being Subrata Pal in 2016. The two time AIFF Woman Footballer Award winner in 2001 and 2013 came into limelight at the national level while playing for Manipur U-13 team at a sub-junior tournament.
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At the age of 15, Bembem made her international bebut for India against Guam in the Asian Women’s Championships. In an international career spanning across two decades, Bembem helped India cement its place as a regional super-power even though opportunities to face quality opponents outside the sub-continent dried out with time. She remained a pivotal part of the Manipur team that ruled the national football scene and also masterminded the nation’s victory in five international tournaments. Earlier this year, she captained the Eastern Sporting Union (ESU) which won the inaugural edition of the Indian Women’s League 2017.
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The employee of the MPSC also played for Maldivian Football club New Radiant and led to a historic league win. She led the Eastern Sporting Union win the inaugural edition of the Indian Women’s League.
Earlier this month, award selection committee included her name along with athletes for Arjuna awards. The other athletes were: Cheteshwar Pujara, Harmanpreet Kaur, Mariyappan Thangavelu, Varun Bhati, SSP Chawrasia, Saketh Myneni, Khusbir Kaur, Aarokiya Rajiv, Prashanti Singh, SV Sunil, Satyawrat Kadian, Anthony Amalraj, PN Prakash, Jasvir Singh and Devendro Singh.
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The award is given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports. She will be the 2nd woman footballer after former national team captain Shanti Mullick who received the award in 1983. The award will be given to the player during presentation ceremony on 29th August 2017.