Meet Nagaland’s gold-winning champion athletes
Kohima, Nov. 17 (EMN): Fresh off their historic wins at the recently concluded 2nd Northeast Olympic Games (NEOG) at Shillong in Meghalaya, the elated duo — Neiketoulie Belho and Niansai T — expressed happiness on achieving the feat, while thanking their coaches for the training and support.
Neiketoulie Belho and Niansai T were awarded the best athletes in the athletics category at the recently.
Belho won three gold medals for Nagaland in long jump, 100m dash and 100x4m relay race with his comrades Rongsenmeren, Nekhoto Tunyi and Vivor Kesiezie; while Niansai won two gold medals in 800m and 1500m race.
“I feel very good and blessed winning the highest achievement in my sporting career,” Belho told Eastern Mirror.
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Niansai expressed profound happiness while sharing that her family and friends were also overjoyed with her achievement.
“Bishi khushi pai ase”, she said. (I am feeling very happy)
Ahead of the event at Shillong, she trained with other athletes at the Indira Gandhi Stadium (IGS) Kohima for one month. She acknowledged her coaches — S Jayachandran for long race and Gopinath for sprints — for guiding and providing the training. Belho was also trained under Gopinath for race and Jayachandran J Shanmugham for track and field, a month prior to the event.
24-year-old Belho completed the finish line in 11.00 seconds in the 100 m race to win the gold medal (10.74 seconds at the Nagaland Olympics); and in long jump he leaped 7.09 metres, an improvement from 6.71 metres; while team Nagaland finished the 100×4 M relay race in 43.53 seconds to be awarded gold medal.
“It was not the best I could perform but I’m happy with the win”, he said.
Niansai completed the finish line of the 800m race in 2.29 minutes to fetch the gold at NEOG in Shillong. Her run was an improvement from the 2.32 minutes at the Nagaland Olympic Games, while she finished the 1500 m race in 5.18 minutes.
She shared that she first participated in the 1st NEOG held at Manipur but failed to win any medal. This made her work harder as a student at the Sports Academy Dimapur, by practising regularly.
She opined that for an athlete to perform better and excel, “good coaches are necessary to guide and train the athletes”.
For the athletes who failed to win medals at this edition, Niansai conveyed ‘not to be disheartened or be lazy but to work harder in order to perform better next time’.
Meanwhile, Belho shared that this was his second time performing outside the state, the first competition being the 36th National Games. He shared that he is looking forward to participating in more events, adding that the Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA) has helped him professionally.
He said that he is taking up sports as a career, adding that “in one way, with these Olympics and competitions, I can get exposure in the field of sports, and also signing up to a better sporting academy where I can get proper and better training (sic)”.
For athletes and sports to improve, he opined that consistency is the key to performing better, while he also stated that support, good guidance, better sporting infrastructure, training and dedication could be improved for better performance of athletes in Nagaland.
Further, to his comrades and other athletes, Belho said, “Failures and glitches are part of the process so let’s take it as an opportunity to learn, let us all work with whole dedication and hardwork and achieve success and be the new change in sports for our state”
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had also congratulated Niansai T and Neiketoulie Belho for winning the best athlete awards, stating that they had brought pride and joy to Nagaland while wishing more success in their careers in future.