Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Emerging sports power hub

Though the entire north east comprises just 45 million, which is 3.76 % of India’s population.; yet in recent years sportspersons from the region have made India proud. In the current Common Wealth Games in England, four of India’s first eight of nine medals during the first four days have come from athletes from the Northeast. This is enough proof of the importance of the region from Indian sport’s perspective. So far, as on August 2, Indian athletes have won nine medals, three gold, three silvers and three bronze, at the Commonwealth Games 2022. Mirabai Chanu from Manipur was the first Indian woman to win a gold in the Women’s 49kg weightlifting at CWG 2022 while Jeremy Lalrinnunga from Mizoram was the first Indian man to clinch top podium in Men’s 67kg weightlifting at Birmingham. Shushila Likmabam also from Manipur won Silver at women’s 48 kg judo. Bindyarani Devi from Manipur created a Games record by lifting 116 kg in the clean and jerk after a personal best of 86 kg in the snatch section and secured a silver in the women’s 55 kg category. While it was Dingko Singh and Kunjarani Devi who were flagbearers from the north east in the 1990s; they were followed by boxers Mary Kom, Sarita Devi and Lovlina Borgohain, Mirabai Chanu, Bindyarani Devi and Jeremy Lalrinnuga in weightlifting and Sushila Devi in judo. The North Eastern states of India are home to some of India’s most recognised international players. Just to name a few, M.C. Mary Kom– 2012 Olympics bronze medallist and a five-time world amateur-boxing champion, footballer Baichung Bhutia, boxer L. Sarita Devi, silver medallist at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Jayanta Talukdar, Gold Medalist and Arjuna Award winner, weightlifter K. Sanjita Chanu, who won gold at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Mirabai Chanu, who broke the national record to win the World Weightlifting championships are just some of the renowned names. Kunjarani Devi also from Manipur is one of the greatest women weightlifters, not just in India but the world. By sheer hard work and determination, she has broken all records, winning a staggering 50 plus international and national medals. Kunjarani has won 3 gold, 31 silver and 12 bronze medals in international competitions. She has been rated by the International Weightlifting Federation as one of the top 100 greats of all time. Northeast Sportspersons over the years have developed a habit making it big at national and international sports events. A positive sports culture in the region has yielded numerous medal winners and world champions who have stamped their authority on the global stage. Sports lovers in the north east can proudly say that it is the un-official sports region of India while Manipur and followed by Assam are states that have produced world class material. The rising sports stars are inspiring many youngsters and their families to come out of poverty through sports. The Khelo India program provides funds for conducting sports events in two age groups of under 14 and under 17. Earlier under Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA) and the Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS), the schemes had encouraged mass participation of both boys and girls in sports and creation of sports infrastructure facilities.

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