Naga wrestlers who won bronze at international belt wrestling facilitated
Naga wrestlers

Kohima: Naga wrestlers Keduovilie Zumu and Nlumrai Hegwang, who won bronze medals at the recently-concluded 6th International Sports Festival ‘Pearl of Kyrgyzstan’ 2022 at Chon-sary-oi in Kyrgyzstan, were felicitated by Nagaland Wrestling Association (NWA) on Monday at the Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA) office in Kohima. 

Speaking at the felicitation ceremony, Zumu recalled how the duo stayed at Kyrgyzstan for 6 days to participate in the tournament, as 33 countries took part in 30 different sports, with Judo and belt wrestling as the main sports of the festival.  

Keduovilie Zumu participated in the 80+ KG category and won the bronze after two wins and one loss, while Nlumrai Hegwang won bronze in the 80KG category after three wins and one loss. 

Zumu won his first international medal in 2017 and became the first Naga wrestler to win a medal at an international level. With the recent wins, the state now holds a record of four medals at the international belt wrestling. 

Addressing the gathering as the special guest, Director General of Police (DGP) Nagaland T John Longkumer lauded the NWA for building the foundation for the youth “brick by brick”. 

He said that wrestling, which is a heritage of sports for the Tenyimia community, is now becoming more inclusive with non-Tenyimia tribes stepping up to play the sport. Pointing out that the grapple game can unite the Nagas, he said this is a wonderful start in promoting the game. 

Although the Nagaland sports battalion was launched, he said that it is taking some time to formulate the functioning of the battalion for which a committee was formed and its first draft report was submitted. He expressed hope that the draft will be approved by the state government before August 15.

Through the sports battalion, DGP Longkumer said that many avenues for young sportspersons, both men and women, will open up as Nagaland is the first state in the country to have a police sports battalion. 

As the duo are both part of the DGP team, he praised them for making the Nagas and the department proud, as he also praised the NWA for providing a roadmap for the players to participate at international sporting events. 

He also encouraged the young wrestlers and players to be disciplined and maintain consistency. 

NWA president Hiabe Zeliang also congratulated the Naga wrestlers on winning the bronze medals. He informed that several tribes like the Lotha, Ao, Rengma and Phom, are now taking up wrestling. He said the Nagas are now realising the importance and scope of wrestling as a career.

As he hoped that the United World Wrestling will make the sport a successful addition at the Olympics, he said it will open up opportunities for Naga wrestlers to be olympians.  

He added that the promotion of sports is the way forward for the society to progress. 

Also read | Nagaland: MoU inked to strengthen SHGs for persons with disabilities

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