The small state of Manipur though plagued with social problems and communal complicacies have been acknowledged as the sporting powerhouse of the country. Sports in Manipur is not only a form of physical activity or a form of recreation but has been regarded as an integral part of our culture since time immemorial. Stories about Mukna Kangjei (an indigenous sport where hockey is combined with wrestling) matches being played between humans and the divinities have been found in the ancient manuscripts bearing testimony to the importance of sports and the role it plays in the culture and tradition of the indigenous people in the state.
The sporting scenario of the state at present, while still vibrant and engaging, have felt the need for an overhaul, not only in the way they are practiced and administered but also in the way the sportspersons and athletes approach their chosen events. The sheer number of children and youth practicing any form of games and sports in the state at a competitive level will still overwhelm and outnumber any other state as percentage of the population, and yet the decline in quality and expertise of the athletes on an average has been increasingly felt.
The initiative of the central government to establish a National Sports University in the state should be regarded as an acknowledgement of the sporting achievements by the people of the state and the potential it holds for producing more outstanding athletes which can bring laurels for the nation. With proper guidance, timely support and technical inputs, there is every possibility of talented and dedicated athletes from the state and the country making it to the top in various events.
The catch however is the ground reality that is threatening the realization of this initiative. The inability to appreciate and support such an important and necessary move has proved to be a huge dampener. Narrow considerations for personal gains, unethical dealings by public officials and suspicions of tweaking the system for less honourable intentions by some from within the highest echelon of power have all but brought the efforts to a grinding halt. The languorous efforts and divided opinions regarding the project do not bode well for anything relating to the proposed initiative.
For the people of the state who have prided themselves in the sporting achievements of their brethrens, it is time to shed the petty differences and insignificant objections and take the initiative to settle issues relating to the setting up of the Sports University in view of the enormity of importance and significance such an institute will represent for the state.
For the state government and its machineries involved in the whole exercise, the collective sporting dream of the state and the nation rests in complying and ensuring that each one plays its part to the fullest and with earnestness, as everyone in a team ought to do without the slightest hesitation or doubt, so that the ultimate result will be the success for the team. Of course, discipline, dedication and diligence need to be observed. But that goes without saying for a sportsperson.