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Old hits ensure spectacular start to Nagaland Olympic & Paralympic Games

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Building sporting ecosystem to reap medals at highest level: Rio

DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 12: With one eye firmly on the bigger target already appearing in the collective line of sight, curtains were raised on this year’s Nagaland Olympic & Paralympic Games with the usual concoction of lights, music, culture, VVIPs, VIPs ~ and yes, the athletes.
The Nagaland Cricket Stadium at Sovima in Chümoukedima district provided the perfect space for another reprise of the trusted old hits on Monday night: as far as spectacle was concerned, it was neatly pulled off. The only thing missing from the opening was fireworks.
As is customary, athletes and para-athletes from all corners of the State were introduced to the crowd, though at least three districts’ contingents were missing during the roll call. There are at least 4,000 participants at this year’s competition.
Kalyan Chaubey, the President of All India Football Federation and Joint Secretary of Indian Olympic Association, was in attendance. So were Sokun Singh, the Vice President of Taekwondo Federation of India and Nagaland’s solitary living Olympian, Chekrovolu Swuro.
From the corporate world, Girish Shenoy, the Head of Sales at United Breweries, was invited ~ perhaps with an eye on future investments.

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Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, also the President of Nagaland Olympics Association (NOA), estimated that “this is perhaps the biggest gathering” of Nagaland youth on one platform.
“I am told the total number of participants across all verticals is more than 4000, with participants from all the 16 districts and every corner of Nagaland. This is indeed a significant achievement and I congratulate every athlete who has qualified to participate in these games. This is the highest level of sporting competition as far as Nagaland is concerned and just making it to these games is an achievement by itself”, he said.
Rio expressed happiness at what he said was the positive turn of sports and games in Nagaland “despite challenges of decades of insurgency, limited funds and resources” and fairly-recently (2004) affiliation of NOA with the national body.
“We have been giving emphasis on infrastructure, game development and building up of a scientific sports eco-system that is being targeted for medals at the highest levels. The results are beginning to show. At the 1st North East Olympic Games held in Imphal, Nagaland won 39 medals; this was followed by Nagaland bagging 79 medals at the 2nd edition in Meghalaya.
“Nagaland also won 11 medals at the recently concluded National Games in Goa. Our athletes are starting to win national and international medals and we are proud to say that our youth are making the country proud. We will continue to make our best efforts to promote sports at all levels with the clear intention to ensure that our sportspersons do not miss the opportunities of the multi-billion-dollar sports industry”, he said.
Rio also reminded the athletes about the bigger prize looming in view. “While we celebrate the inauguration of our State’s biggest event, let us keep in mind that within one month of these games concluding, Nagaland will play host to the next edition of the North East Olympic Games here in the same venues.
“All the 8 States of the Northeast are expected to participate in what will be a historic and significant milestone. I want to encourage the athletes to take their respective responsibilities with all seriousness as Nagaland teams will undergo coaching camps and high-performance exercises ahead of the North East Olympics”, he said.
According to the Chief Minister, Nagaland has come of age and the youth are displaying newfound confidence. “My Government has declared the ambition to strive for Excellence in all fields and the best vertical towards this aspiration is in the arenas of sports and games. I am happy to reiterate our aim to host a future edition of the National Games and I am confident that our citizens, especially our youth will not let the country down”, he maintained.
This year’s Nagaland Olympic & Paralympic Games will see competitions in 16 sport disciplines across 15 venues and arenas in the two districts of Dimapur and Chumukedima.
(Page News Service)

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