Nurturing Northeast's Sporting Prowess - Eastern Mirror
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Nurturing Northeast’s Sporting Prowess

By The Editorial Team Updated: Mar 19, 2024 11:38 pm

The much-awaited North East Games 2024, which Nagaland is hosting for the first time, has begun. The region’s biggest sporting extravaganza may have failed to garner the deserved attention in the national media in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, but not the spirit, as more than 3000 sportspersons from eight north-eastern states are competing in 15 sports disciplines to win medals and bring laurels to their states. Though the North East Games is still in its nascent stage, having just entered the third edition, it is emerging as one of the most anticipated and promising multi-sport events in the country after the National Games because of the number of sportspersons the region produces. Be it at the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, or national football scenario, the north-east stands out, because of which many dub it as the powerhouse of sports in India. This is despite the lack of facilities in the region, unlike other parts of the country. Noticing the potential in the region, lawmakers and big sports personalities have been pointing out the need to nurture the sporting talent in the north-east to boost India’s prospects at the international level. This attention has, no doubt, brought some positive changes in the form of new sports complexes, but there is a long way to go before sportspersons from the region have access to world-class amenities. It’s a fact that there are not many stadiums with synthetic athletic tracks in the region even today, which means most athletes have to practice on mud tracks.

If the central and state governments are serious about tapping the sporting talents in the region, concerted efforts should be made to bring infrastructure to rural areas too, as conveyance is a big issue due to the hilly terrain and not all can afford to move to urban areas to avail of modern amenities. Towards this, the Khelo India programme, which was initiated with an aim to improve sports culture in the country, has brought about some changes in terms of infrastructure development and the identification of talents, though a lot needs to be done to make up for decades of neglect. Besides infrastructure and amenities, it is necessary to provide a level playing field for all sportspersons. Sports events should be organised at various levels to identify and nurture talents. The North East Games is one such platform, a springboard for athletes to compete at higher levels. It is also important to see sports beyond winning medals; it is a huge industry with links to various sectors that brings people together. American track and field athlete Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games, once said: “Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.” The North East Games should bring the people of the region closer.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Mar 19, 2024 11:38:35 pm
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