Kohima: Associate vice president of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), Abu Metha, on Friday informed that Nagaland will be hosting the South Asian Cross Country Championship clubbed with the 56th National cross country championship on January 15 next year.

Addressing a press conference at RCEMPA in Jotsoma, Metha said “Today, we are happy to announce that the South Asian Cross Country Championship will be hosted by India and FI has allotted the championship to Nagaland. This will be perhaps the biggest-ever international event to be hosted in Nagaland and it will bring athletes, officials and delegates from the entire South Asian convention to Nagaland and Participate in this championship”.

Also Read: Nagaland to host 56th National Cross Country Championship in January

The Championships are set to take place at the state capital in Kohima. Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and India will be participating in the South Asian championship.

Metha reiterated that AFI is “very keen” to promote Athletics in the North Eastern region as it understands that there is an enormous amount of talent and potential for athletics. He said that with the promotion and development of sports infrastructures and sportsmen, the region has the potential to do well in athletics

“The AFI is keen to take up developmental programmes, game development programmes in the entire North-Eastern region to tap into the potentials of the North East in the arena of sports and games, especially athletics,” Metha said.

As most sports disciplines require athletics as their foundation, he said that sports as a whole will not develop if there is no improvement of athletics. Metha informed that the AFI has elaborate plans to develop athletics in the region, the beginning for which will be marked in Nagaland.

To gear up for the championships, capacity building programmes for athletic coaches from Nagaland will begin next week, which will be led by Team India head coach at the Tokyo Olympics. These pieces of training will be followed by special training for technical officials. A team from AFI led by its general secretary will also be arriving in Nagaland to carry out various programmes, training, workshops and seminars in Kohima.

“It is of utmost importance that the development of any sport needs the progress and improvement of capacity building of technical officials. Quality technical official, Referee and umpire are the basis of quality sports and games and quality talent to develop,” he said.

Metha appealed to all sections of the Naga people, including the sports fraternity to come forward and support the event. “South Asian Cross Country championships in Nagaland will propel Nagaland to the international sports level,” he said.

Around the championship, the South Asian Athletic Federation will also have its annual General meeting in Kohima, Metha informed. He expressed delight in how the people of Nagaland will also be contributing to the growth and development of sports in the country. “We will be contributing towards the nation-building process of the country through sports. I think it is a proud moment for all Nagas. I want to tell all that every Naga citizen across the length and breadth of Nagaland is a stakeholder in Nagaland,” he said.



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