Quest for Sporting Excellence – Eastern Mirror
there was an air of uncertainty surrounding the North East Olympics after the second edition of the sporting event, originally scheduled to be held in Arunachal Pradesh, was derailed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 until Meghalaya takes the responsibility of hosting it this year. ‘Scotland of the East’ pulled off the event despite short notice. The seven-day sporting event not only gave sportspeople in the region a platform to showcase their talents, but also strengthened ties between the eight northeastern states. The Northeast won. Once again, Manipur came out on top after defending their 2018 title; Assam and Arunachal Pradesh also retained second and third place respectively. However, it was the host state that surprised everyone, of course pleasant, with its spectacular performance in this edition winning 36 gold, 35 silver and 78 bronze medals, a huge jump from the sixth place in 2018 at the fourth in the ranking. table.
Nagaland also put on an impressive show, retaining fifth position with a total of 79 medals, including 18 gold, 17 silver and 44 bronze, compared to 6 gold, 9 silver and 27 bronze in the 2018 games in Imphal. The state’s Neiketoule Belho also won Best Athlete (Men) for winning the 100m and Long Jump, and Niansai T received Best Athlete (Girls Under 20) for winning. the 800m and 1500m at the games. This time, the Nagaland team brought laurels to the state, for which they received praise from various quarters. It also saved the government and the relevant department from coming under fire, which it received in abundance after the state went blank in the recent National Games. The 2nd Nagaland Olympic and Paralympic Games 2022, held in August this year, could have helped the sportsmen prepare physically and mentally for the North East games in Shillong. By taking home 23 track and field medals, the state’s athletes sent the message that they can excel if given the opportunity and the facilities to train. In line with the plan to install artificial turf in all districts, which will boost football tremendously, the state government is expected to transform the sports facilities of various disciplines. Only then can the sportsmen of the state compete with the best and excel at national and international levels. Sporting events like the Nagaland Olympics and the Northeast Olympics are also expected to take place at regular intervals. Such events can serve as a springboard for young talent to excel.