Mega celebrations to mark 100 years of Assam sports journalism

Guwahati: Sports journalism in Assam is on the brink of hitting a ton, and mega celebrations are being planned to celebrate 100 years of reportage on this highly specialised segment starting July 2, officials said.

The first sports news appeared in a newspaper christened ‘Asomiya’ on July 1, 1923, regarding a three-day soccer competition in the Sivasagar district, they said.

“Sports journalism in Assam will step into its 100th year on July 1. We are planning a year-long programme to mark the special occasion, starting from July 2, which also happens to be World Sports Journalists’ Day,” Assam Sports Journalists Association (ASJA) president Subodh Malla Baruah told PTI.

The ASJA will observe the Sports News Publication Centenary Year from July 2 to July 1, 2023, its secretary Imtiaz Ahmed added.

News on sports took 78 years to debut in Assam dailies, after the first news magazine – ‘Orunodoi’ – was published way back in 1846.

Sports news has since become a prominent part of all forms of media, be it print, electronic or digital, Ahmed said.

Baruah said the first byline in sports journalism was given to Beliram Das, whose report on a football match at Palashbari, in present-day Kamrup district, was published on July 29, 1923.

The ASJA chief said the inaugural programme of the centenary celebration will be held in Guwahati on July 2, but various functions in different parts of the state, including at Sivasagar, have been lined up.

A logo and tagline, ‘Assam Sports Journalism @100’, have been unveiled by the ASJA in the run up to the commencement of the centenary year festivities, Baruah said.

He also said a memorial will be built to mark the occasion, and Union Minister and Assam Olympic Association president Sarbananda Sonowal has assured the necessary financial assistance for it.

“Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has also assured all cooperation of various agencies in the government. Besides, some of the corporate houses in the state have promised sponsorship,” Baruah said.

The India Post is likely to release a commemorative stamp on the occasion, too, said Ahmed.

Apart from initiating welfare schemes for sports journalists, the ASJA has planned lectures, a film festival, a sports photography exhibition and competition, and interactions.

“The association will also publish a book on the history of sports and sports journalism during the year-long celebration. The opening and concluding ceremonies will be marked with the felicitation of journalists from this field,” Ahmed said.

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