Sikkim to send 240 athletes to North East Olympic Games
The 2nd North East Olympic Games 2022 will be held from November 10 to 16.

Shillong: Meghalaya will host the 2nd North East Olympic Games 2022, which will be held from October 30 to November 6, 2022.

A joint meeting between the North East Organising Committee, Meghalaya Department of Sports and Youth Affairs and the North East Olympic Association was held on Wednesday to finalise the list of sports disciplines. The first edition was held in Manipur in  2018 with only 12 disciplines.

A total of 18 disciplines have been finalised — Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Judo, Karate, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Wushu, Cycling, Golf, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.

Approximately 4000 participants (athletes, technical staff, and volunteers) are expected to participate in the games. Athletes from all eight northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura — will be competing.

President of NEOA, Th Radheshyam said that the list of contingents will be submitted within a week’s time.

Radheshyam informed that venues for all the disciplines and accommodations for the sportspersons and officials are being prepared on war footing for the mega event of the region in consultation and coordination with the Meghalaya State Olympic Association. Departments of the government have also been assigned different tasks for smooth and successful conduct of the games.

“The Government of Meghalaya, even with limited resources has taken the initiative to host the 2nd edition,” said Radheshyam.

Though Meghalaya has taken the initiative to host the games, the question arises if it is capable of hosting a bigger event. The recent Meghalaya Games were a major disaster which made headlines after Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma was compelled to visit the JN Stadium, where players were being accommodated. Social media was flooded with images of unhygienic living condition such as dirty toilets and leaking ceilings. 

However, the Meghalaya State Olympic Association Working President, John F Kharshiing, said that the state is ready and the inspection of venues has already been done.

Kharshiing said that the state is fortunate to have the Sports Authority of India (SAI) campus. “An inspection of the venues was done two weeks ago. The venue development committee has been notified. Most of the games will take place in the SAI campus and few disciplines will be held outside,” informed Kharshiing.

The government has also sought the help of the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) to use their indoor stadium which is adjacent to SAI campus.

NEOA President acknowledged that there were loopholes in the recent Meghalaya Games but they eventually learnt from the mistakes. He added that due to the pandemic, boys and girls, and sports enthusiasts have suffered and the state wants to do away with this phobia and bring them out. “We have seen how athletes from the northeast are performing so well in the Commonwealth and Olympics despite hurdles,” Radheshyam said.

So far the budget has not been finalised since the committee is yet to submit the final budgeting. Based on the total athletes and participants, budgeting will be finalised and a finance committee is going to be set up to discuss the budget, mentioned Kharshiing.

The NEOA has also informed that if a state lacks athletes, they can opt to share inter- northeast players but they should not be more than 30 per cent.

Meghalaya Sports Minister, Banteidor Lyngdoh in his recent meeting with the Sports Minister of India in Gujarat, had informed the gathering about the 2nd NE Olympic Games 2022 and had invited Union Minister, Ministry of Youth Sports Affairs, Anurag Thakur, to the opening of the North East Olympic Games 2022. 

Lyngdoh informed that the Union Minister DONER including all the Chief Ministers, Union Ministers from the North East will be invited. 

The committee along with the government has also agreed to invite a few of the top athletes from the region who won in the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Commonwealth Games 2022 as special invitees to the opening ceremony of the North East Olympic Games 2022.

Also read | Meghalaya: Khasi, Garo languages made compulsory in state judicial exam

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