Tapping Regional Prowess - Eastern Mirror
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Tapping Regional Prowess

By The Editorial Team Updated: Mar 26, 2024 11:29 pm

The North East Games, erstwhile North East Olympic Games, may be just three editions old but it has become an important platform for sportspersons from the region to showcase their talent and garner the much-needed experience to compete at higher levels. The convergence of more than 3,000 athletes from across the Northeast in the recently concluded 3rd North East Games 2024, hosted by Nagaland, was a testament to the region’s interest in sports as well as an indication of the magnitude of the event. It has become a launch pad for bigger stages—national games and other international events—and the intensity of competition will only increase in the years to come. While there is no doubt about the important role played by this multi-sports event in promoting sports in the region, the absence of many disciplines like swimming, weightlifting, judo, cycling, etc. is disappointing. The organising body should expand the horizon by including more sports disciplines. For this, the central and state governments should invest in infrastructure. The North East is being dubbed the powerhouse of sports in the country and many, including lawmakers and big sports personalities, have been vocal about the need to tap the potential in the region but no visible change could be seen at ground level as far as infrastructure is concerned. Such talks usually die down not long after sportspersons from the region bring laurels to the country from events like the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Olympics. It’s a pity that despite all the talks, many sporting disciplines in the North East Games are played under temporary structures built just for the event. The concerned authorities should work more and talk less if they are serious about boosting India’s global image in the sports arena by nurturing sportspersons from the North East.

It is also equally important to build a strong sports culture by organising sporting events at various levels, starting from villages, in order to identify and nurture young talents. Government departments, civil society organisations, NGOs, student bodies, etc., should chip in to make this happen. The benefit of organising sporting events is evident from Nagaland’s commendable performance in the 3rd North East Games, which was held just weeks after the Nagaland Olympic and Paralympic Games. The state won 134 medals, including 48 gold, 42 silver and 44 bronze in the event, only next to defending champions Manipur, which bagged 130 medals (52 gold, 38 silver, and 40 bronze). The leap from the fifth spot in the previous two editions to the second spot is a big one. It was the outcome of the government’s effort in promoting sports besides individual hard work. However, most north-eastern states, other than Manipur and Assam, lack consistency. For instance, Meghalaya jumped from sixth place to fourth with 149 medals (36 gold, 35 silver, and 78 bronze) in the previous North East Games, which was held in the state, but slipped to bottom two in the latest edition, winning just 55 medals (2 gold, 12 silver, and 41 bronze). Will Nagaland follow suit? Well, to produce champions at national and international levels and live up to the moniker as the powerhouse of sports in the country, it is imperative to consistently strive towards excellence and build a sports culture.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Mar 26, 2024 11:29:25 pm
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