Guwahati: Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary on Saturday called for promotion of indigenous sports so that these may receive recognition in the international arena.

He also underscored the role of media in popularising indigenous sports as well as in promoting sportspersons so that they can avail proper training facilities and other benefits from the authorities, clubs or other organisations.

Speaking at the inauguration of year-long celebration of centenary year of sports journalism in the state, Daimary said, The indigenous sports are rooted and linked with the people of a particular area. There is a greater need to promote and popularise these.

He maintained that with proper thrust, many such disciplines have the potential of not only getting international recognition but also being included in Olympic games.

Daimary cited the example of the traditional sport of the Bodo tribe, Khomlainai (wrestling), which has drawn interest from several countries.

There are about 10-12 countries already competing in this sport and international tournaments are being held. Kokrajhar had also hosted an international championship a few years back, he said.

The Bodo leader added that it was only sporting event where Bodo language is used on ground during matches at the international level.

There are so many indigenous sports that can draw international participation. We just need more publicity for these and sports journalists play a crucial role in it, the Speaker said.

Daimary also highlighted the role of sports journalists in bringing to fore talented players and ensuring that deserving players can benefit from facilities meant for them.

He said, Very often, our players are left with limited or no means to continue their training and pursuing their sport due to lack of facilities. There are now government schemes also for deserving and upcoming sportspersons and the media can play a vital role in creating awareness of these.

The BJP leader said sport associations and clubs also have an important role in ensuring that the players are given due training facilities, exposure and other benefits.

Several sports journalists of the state were felicitated and a souvenir was released at the inaugural ceremony, which was also attended by Monalisa Barua Mehta, the first woman athlete to receive the Arjuna Award from North East region, Olympian Anuradha Biswal and former national table tennis champion Kamlesh Mehta, among others.

Sports journalism in the state stepped into its 100th year on July one and the programme kickstarted the year-long celebrations planned by Assam Sports Journalists Association.

The first sports news in the state had appeared in a newspaper named Asomiya’ on July 1, 1923, regarding a three-day soccer competition in Sivasagar district.

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