Two medals from five participants Boosting the sports mvement
From five picked for the Indian contingent to represent the country at the Tokyo Olympics, 2020 to capping it off with the stupendous show of two returning with medals, Silver from S Mirabai Chanu in weightlifting to the Bronze from S Nilakanta Sharma in Hockey, Manipur continues to bask in the glory of the stupendous showing put up by the sports-persons from the State. In between there was P Shushila Chanu, a star of a hockey player who narrowly missed out on winning the Bronze and there was every reason for the people of Manipur to bask in the Olympic medals of Mirabai Chanu and Nilakanta. Judoka Shushila Devi may not have come close to winning a medal, but it would do good for everyone to remember that she was the lone Judoka from the country with over 130 crore people to represent the country at the said Olympics. Mary Kom, who needs no introduction and who will be remembered not only for her Bronze at the London Olympics of 2012, but also for the six World Championship titles under her belt, a feat she achieved long before women’s boxing received the kind of glitz and recognition that it has received today. This should underline the point that Mary Kom was one of the chief architects in taking women’s boxing to the level it is today. It was this spirit which can be read into the grand announcement of Chief Minister N Biren that the State Government is committed to developing sports in Manipur. This is a point to be noted and this is where the Government would seriously need to study how to further champion sports at the grassroot level. Everyone talks about the Yaoshang sports held annually in every leikai and this is where the Government may need to seriously study how to take this one or two steps higher. Let the different clubs organise the sports at their own level, but it would greatly help if all the 60 MLAs can be urged to organise one at the level of the MLA in each and every Constituency. The teams from the leikai level can be made to qualify to participate at the Constituency level and this is one idea that may be pursued with the seriousness it deserves.
Focus may also be paid to the schools where tournaments at the school level may be organised. Let some schools come together and let them organise different tournaments in football, hockey, basketball, and individual events like boxing, weightlifting etc. An academic year may be divided into football season, hockey season, basketball season, etc and along with academics the young students may be encouraged to take to the play field. This can certainly go a long way in helping tap and nurture the latent talents of the youngsters. With the feel good factor borne out of the splendid showing by the sportspersons at the Olympics still running large, this is the right time for the Government to sit down and seriously study the feasibility of kickstarting a sports movement with some innovative steps. The Government may also seriously start thinking of naming some sports tournament after the present lot of achievers, so that the youngsters may identify with the name given, such as a Mary Kom or Sarita or Dingko tournament in boxing and a hockey tournament after Nilakanta and football tournament after Renedy Singh. Food for thought, which may be explored with the needed intensity.