Curtains Down On Nagaland’s Biggest Sporting Event - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland Sports

Curtains down on Nagaland’s biggest sporting event

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By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Feb 18, 2024 12:14 am

•             Kohima emerge overall champions, again

•             TR Zeliang moots state govt. jobs for sportspersons

Closing ceremony scaled
Kohima receiving overall championship trophy from Nagaland Governor in the presence of TR Zeliang and advisor to CM and Secretary General of NOA Abu Metha on Saturday. (EM Images)

DIMAPUR — The 3rd edition of the Nagaland Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024 concluded on Saturday after six days of intense competition, as thousands of athletes from across the state converged in Dimapur and Chümoukedima to showcase their sporting talent and win medals for their respective districts.

The curtain came down on the state’s biggest sporting event on Saturday following a closing ceremony held at the Regional Centre for Sporting Excellence in Chümoukedima, with Nagaland Governor La. Ganesan as the special guest and Deputy Chief Minister TR Zeliang as honoured guest.

Kohima secured the overall champions title for the third consecutive time by winning 89 medals, including 35 gold, 27 silver and 27 bronze, while Chümoukedima were placed in the second position with 83 medals — 24 gold, 28 silver and 31 bronze – followed by Phek with 64 medals — 22 gold, 18 silver and 24 bronze.

The Olympics fair play trophy was awarded to Chümoukedima district and Spirit of Olympics award went to Longleng district.

Nagaland’s biggest sporting event
A young archer taking part in competition. (NOA)

The Outstanding Sportsman award went to Lhanti Konyak (sepaktakraw), while 13-year-old Neshe Maonyu Konyak bagged Outstanding Sportswoman award for securing two gold medals in 100 metre race and 4X400 mixed relay.

The six-day sporting extravaganza officially started on February 12, while events like cricket and football commenced early. It witnessed more than 5000 participants, including 2886 athletes from 16 districts competing in 16 sports disciplines.

Celebrate, support, sustain sports — Governor

Speaking at the closing ceremony, La. Ganesan said that the state not only embraces the end of the sporting event but also the ‘continuation of a journey- one that began with the dreams and dedication of 3500 vibrant youths from across the 16 districts, and one that doubtlessly promises for an even brighter and more promising trajectory for sports in Nagaland and beyond’.

In the recent years, Nagaland has stepped up on the national sporting stage, steadily enhancing medal tally, and more importantly etching the spirit of the land on the broader canvas of sporting excellence, he said.

He added that this didn’t happen by itself but through the unrelenting passion and perseverance of the athletes and the dedicated efforts of the Nagaland Olympic Association under the able leadership of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.

Describing the youth as the most valuable assets, being a custodians of the state’s future, the governor said they should be empowered by providing platforms, where they can excel and showcase their abilities, not just on a national level but make ripples in the international arena too.

Pointing out that the state has a strong tradition of indigenous games and sports, which are innately and passionately linked to their cultural heritage, he said the people should preserve and promote their cultural heritage by promoting their traditional games too.

Ganesan also encouraged the gathering to march forward in unity with a vision of nurturing the youth of the state, uphold the spirit of the just concluded sporting event and keep the momentum of progress, fostering a culture where sports is celebrated, supported, and sustained.

Developing infrastructure not enough — Dy CM

Also speaking at the event, T.R. Zeliang told the gathering that the theme ‘Stronger Together’, under which the sporting event was held, is appropriate because of the fact that “we are always stronger when we come together”.

Recalling that a total of 1,380 athletes from the 11 districts of the state competed in 12 sports disciplines during the first edition of the Nagaland Olympics held in 2017 when he was the chief minister, he said the sporting has seen continuous progress with more than 4000 athletes from all 16 districts having participated this year, indicating a remarkable growth in the field of sports.

The Deputy CM opined that there is a need to change the existing sports policies with the changing time, saying that the parameters for accommodating sportspersons in state government jobs must be revisited as many of youngsters who are doing well in various sports disciplines end up unemployed once they cross their prime age.

There are sportsperson who have participated at national and international level but when it comes to employment based on sports quota, there is no clear-cut opportunity for them, he said, adding that the state government is considering a clear comprehensive sports policy by revamping the existing policy for implementation in the near future.

Such policy must be influenced by a range of actors, including inter-governmental agencies, local communities and grassroots organizations, he said.

Apart from sports infrastructure development, we have to give equal importance to employment of sportsperson through sports quota, building competition structure, sports science and equipment, as well as support to sports bodies in order achieve sporting excellence not only within the state but also at national and international levels, added the deputy CM.

Also read: NOPG 2024: Kohima tops medal table with 89 medals

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By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Feb 18, 2024 12:14:03 am
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