Leader Writer: Hrishikesh Angom – Manipur is rightly called the “power house” of sports in India. The performance of state players at the recently concluded 34th National Games held at Jharkhand testifies the very fact. However, continuous outflow of talented players from the state has become a major concern for the state. Many Manipuri players have represented other states and secured several medals at the National Games. The contribution of these players could have made Manipur the overall champion of the Games, but lack of limited opportunities in the state has compelled them to go to other states. There seems to be a laxity in sports development policy of the state government resulting in discontentment of the players. The state players have brought so many laurels from various international competitions such as Common Wealth Games and Asian Games but they are not given handsome incentives through which they could be motivated to achieve furthermore.
The outflow of talented players from the state itself indicates the failure of the state government towards the development of games and sports. Comparing the performance of Manipur at the Guwahati National Games and Jharkhand National Games, the performance at Jharkhand was lower than Guwahati even though it could secure the second position. The reason behind this retardation is not the degrading performance of the players but the very outflow of players who have secured medals in the last National Games to other states. A medalist of National Games gets handsomely rewarded in other states and as a result the state players have been lured to represent other states. It’s not a question of selfishness but a compulsion for a player to see for opportunities so as to excel in his or her sporting career.
It has been reported that in Jharkhand a gold medalist of National Games will be given Rs seven lakh while silver medalist and bronze medalist will be rewarded Rs five lakh and Rs three lakh respectively. Other states also make lucrative offers to the medalists of National Games. The question out here is not about just money and job but the policy for the development of sports. Nothing can be achieved without necessary help and support even if a person is highly talented. The same thing can be applied to the players of the state. The Manipuri players are mostly from economically backward families and as a result they struggle a lot while trying to pursue their respective discipline of sports.
The gold medalists of Delhi Common Wealth Games, namely weightlifter Renuka, weightlifter Sandhyarani, boxer Suranjoy and others have struggled in their life so as to become shining sports stars in the country. Despite of such outstanding performance in various international competitions the state government seems to neglect the meritorious players of the state. These players have once raised complaint against the state government for failing to give the announced incentive awards.Moreover, the sports infrastructures of the state need to be developed to provide better training to the young players of the state. The people of the state should give pay utmost regards to the players who have brought laurels to the state rather than underestimating them as belonging to backward classes. The rich art and culture as well as sports are the real showpieces of the state and so the people should try to upkeep them. The outflow of talented players from the state should also be controlled by providing adequate sports infrastructures as well as incentive awards for encouraging them to perform better in various competitions. Every Manipuri player would have desired to represent the state and win medals for the state but such is not the case out here presently. One day there might be no player to represent Manipur at the National Games if the concerned authority does not initiate policies for the welfare of the sportspersons by providing state-of-the-art sports infrastructures as well as lucrative incentives and job opportunities to meritorious players.