EDITORIAL | This is why the northeast needs a comprehensive 'Sports Policy'



On January 4, the Assam Rifles Public School (Sports) School, the first-ever sports school in the northeast, including the synthetic football ground at SAI training centre in Shillong, Meghalaya were inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs, Kiren Rijiju.

In Rijiju’s words, it is a major step of integrating sports with education to strengthen the sports culture of the country.

Northeast is a storehouse of talent and potential, and with the right push, the region can do wonders.

When people talk about the region, all they can think about is trouble and militancy but, that is not always the case.

Of course, there were unpleasant incidents in the past, but let us not weigh or sum up our views based only on what happened in the past.

Every state, every country has a bitter past, and so does the northeast.

We need to look at things from a fresh perspective. The wide range of opportunities the region offers includes talent that can propel not only the region but the country to the next level.

And sports is one of them.


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To name a few, boxers like Mary Kom, Dingko Singh and Anju Devi all hail from Manipur.

Others include footballers Bhaichung Bhutia (Sikkim), Jeje Lalpekhlua (Mizoram), Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Aiborlang Kongjee from Meghalaya, women footballer from Manipur Ngangom Bala Devi, archer Bombayla Devi Laishram from Manipur, ace-sprinter from Assam Hima Das, Olympian gymnast from Tripura Dipa Karmakar and many more.

Some argue that states like Manipur and Assam that have a considerably large number of renowned sportspersons are moving ahead in the games since these states provide the much-needed support to upcoming sportspersons.

Talent is abundant, but what is required is the right approach.

A comprehensive and effective sports policy needs to be put in place for things to move in the right direction.

Like Kiren Rijiju rightly stated in Shillong on January 4 that what is the point of having a stadium when the sporting spirit amongst the youth hasn’t been augmented.

Identify the champions and players who can push the bar and become a source of encouragement for many upcoming sportspersons of the region.

We only talk about the northeast being a talent-trove of India, but what have we done to utilise the resources?

I am not talking about policies (which of course are crucial) but about the approach, we take in ensuring that our sportspersons are not abandoned or mistreated.