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Thursday, June 8, 2023

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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Harnessing Sports Talents

By The Editor

India is the most populous country in the world and is therefore expected that its citizens will be prominent in various activities that promote healthy and lively spirit like sports and games besides academics and other allied topics. Sadly to say that due to many factors like poverty and inaccessibility to latest technological equipment its performance at different levels has been quite dismal. No doubt there are number of talented youths who will surely shine and earn top spots in various events provided they are given the opportunities like training, healthy diet and financial assistance. In 2016 Government of India formulated the Khelo India Scheme by merging existing schemes of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA), Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS) and National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) which was revamped in 2017 after consultations with major stakeholders especially state governments. The scheme’s primary focus is to create a national-level platform for athletes to showcase their talent and identify them for further improvement along with financial support.

Meghalaya’s position in sports has been quite satisfactory in last few years and this offers hope and confidence that if government takes more interest surely our young boys and girls can perform better. Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma in his Budget Speech 2023-2024 has assured that Meghalaya will receive generous financial assistance for upgrading sports facilities. Large projects which are in progress costing Rs. 500 crore including New Indoor Stadium and renovation of Jawaharlal Nehru (JN) Stadium at Polo Ground, Shillong; PA (Purno Agitok) Sangma Sports Complex and Track & Field Stadium at Tura; Wahiajer football stadium, West Jaintia Hills; Ampati Stadium, South West Garo Hills will be completed within two years. Other schemes that are in pipeline will be rigorously taken up along with new proposals in all district and block headquarters involving investment to the tune of Rs. 1,000 crore.

Shillong, the capital of the state, will get NE’s (North East’s) biggest multipurpose indoor stadium which will have facilities for different disciplines such as basketball, squash, badminton, table tennis, volleyball, etc. and it is expected to be completed by the month of December this year. However the need does not end only in identifying sports talents and extend sufficient training including free accommodation, food, etc but most important is to recognise these young boys and girls by giving incentives. For example, the Olympic medal winner M.C. Mary Kom from Manipur working in state police department was promoted to the rank of superintendent of police (SP) in the state in 2012 with cash prize of Rs 22 lakh from Prime Minister. This year Assam Assembly congratulated world boxing champion Lovlina Borgohain along with cash award of Rs 50 lakh. Hence it is expected that Meghalaya will also follow in the same footsteps and do better.

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