Sports movement in the State Living up to the ‘powerhouse’ title

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Home of Mary Kom, Dingku Singh, Laishram Sarita, Nilakamal, Thoiba and the numerous footballers who ply their trade in the top notch clubs of the country for the I League and it is only fitting that the National Sports University will be set up here. Manipur may not yet have produced an Olympic gold medallist or even a silver medallist, but then this is the same with numerous other States in India, which have far bigger population. Take this along with the fact that exposure is limited for the numerous budding sportspersons and the achievements of the players in different discipline is truly remarkable. It is only cricket and perhaps lawn tennis where the Manipuris have not been able to make a mark, but this should not mean that this will be the same in the coming years. Given the right opportunity there is no reason to believe that the youngsters will not be able to make a mark for themselves in these two sports. Not for nothing is Manipur known as the sports powerhouse of the country and while there is no easy answer as to why Manipur excels in sports, it will help if one takes a look at the numerous sports events that are held across the State. Apart from the State League, there are numerous other leagues and tournaments at the State level as well as at the district level. So while the 11th Manipur State League is on at Mapal Kangjeibung, an inter-school tournament, Araang Inter-School Cup is underway at Ukhrul district headquarters at two venues.
Other than the events which grab headlines there are numerous other events at the local and leikai level as well. A sports movement, it may be said when one looks at how Yaoshang or Holi is celebrated nowadays. It is sports all the way in each locality or leikai with young boys and girls as well as the seniors including women, turning out for the sports events. Apart from the annual Yaoshang festival, each leikai or locality has its own local club promoting a sports discipline or two signifying that there is something at the grass root level. It is here that schools, particularly the private schools may get together and see if tournaments in any discipline may be arranged, apart from the Subroto Cup tournament. Schools may divide an academic year into seasons such as football season, hockey season, basketball season, athletic season etc. This will surely go a long way in lending a helping hand to the sports spirit of the young students. Sports and Manipur go together, this is not contestable and not very surprising for remember it is this place which gave Polo or Sagol Kangjei to the world.

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