24th National Sepaktakraw Championship gets underway at IG Stadium Kohima
KOHIMA, OCTOBER 15
The 24th Senior National Sepaktakraw Championship 2013 commenced this morning at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima. Altogether, 25 States including Nagaland, and one team from SSB, are participating in the four-day national championship. Gracing the inaugural function as the chief guest, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio lauded the Sepaktakraw Federation of India (STFI) and Nagaland Sepaktakraw Association (NASTA) for promoting the game and placing India in the 3rd place super series world rankings.
Expressing his admiration for Sepaktakraw as being a spectacular game that involves the discipline of many games like football, volleyball, taekwondo, gymnastics and acrobat, Rio also said that it is a delightful event to watch as it displays agility and flexibility of sportspersons when in action.
Also pointing out that though Sepaktakraw may have South East Asian roots, Rio expressed happiness that the game is increasingly gaining popularity worldwide. To this, he encouraged the STFI to promote this beautiful game and launch it in the Olympics arena in the near future.
Underscoring the value of sports, Rio said that sports brings people together, foster unity and brings a sense of belongingness.
On Nagaland hosting the national tournament, the chief minister felt that the State is privileged as it was chosen from among 28 States and eight Union Territories.
Minister for Youth Resources & Sports, Merentoshi R Jamir, who is also the chairman of the organizing committee of the tournament, while delivering the welcome address said that it was an honour for Nagaland to host the National Sepaktakraw Championship for the second time – the first being the 13th Junior National Sepaktakraw Championships in 2009. Jamir termed it as a sign of recognition of the performance and achievements of Naga players in the game, both in the national and international circuits.
Maintaining that it is rare for a small state like Nagaland to be given the opportunity to host national level sports events due to the logistics and finances involved, he, however, said the state is fortunate to have the active support of the chief minister who provided resources to organize and host this event despite the financial constraints in the state this year. He expressed happiness that the game is catching on among the people of the state. The minister also said that India’s diversity has always been its strength and expressed hope that the representatives and players from 25 states including Nagaland gathered here in the tournament, will not only showcase their talents in the game but also learn about each other’s culture and tradition, and build bridges across communities.
Sepaktakraw Federation of India president, Dr. SR Prem Raj informed the progress of Sepaktakraw in the country which he said is now being conducted in the category of junior, senior and sub-junior levels in schools. He also expressed hope that the game would soon be introduced at university levels.
NASTA president, Ruokuo Kire informed that NASTA, which was formed in 1996, has produced 12 international players so far has brought home more than 50 medals from both national and international tournaments. Considering the popularity of the game it has been included in the Nagaland Sports Policy, Kire informed. He expressed happiness that the game has been included in the Nagaland government’s sports policy, and acknowledged the latter for giving priority to the game which comes as a huge encouragement for the sports enthusiasts in the state. He also stated that the association is striving to penetrate the game into untouched areas of the state.
Later, the chief guest released the championship souvenir and declared the tournament open. Viseyie Koso, the first Naga Sepaktakraw player who represented India in Asian Games, administered the oath to the participants.
A host of dignitaries attended the inaugural programme including minister for Roads & Bridges, Azo Nienu, minister for Education, CM Chang, parliamentary secretary, Dr. Neikesalie (Nicky) Kire, DC Kohima W Honje Konyak, SP Kohima Rothihü Tetseo and commissioner & secretary Menukhol John among others.