Leader Writer: Wangkheimayum Bhupendra Singh
Much have been said and written about Manipur and sports; nonetheless a lot needs to be done to boost and encourage sportspersons and sports in the state. As was reported today, Oriental English School girls of Manipur lifted the U-17 Girls’ Subroto Cup defeating the Government Mizo High School girls, Mizoram at the national capital. Just about a month ago, MC Mary Kom and the four other London Olympians from the state took the state to unprecedented heights in its history. We have all seen the pint sized mother of two boxer sized down her opponents much more physically intimidating than herself during the recent London Olympics grabbing a Bronze for herself in the first ever women’s boxing event in the Olympics. We had all stood up and cheered on with a united voice and let our imaginations a free rein when another small yet fast pugilist from the state Laishram Devendro, archer L Bombayla and Soniya Chanu fought for glory at the Olympics. Manipur had also stood firmly behind Kothajit after he was denied playing for the Indian hockey team. Sports have been time and again in the limelight reflecting that Manipur has a vast sporting talent and resources. While there is no denying the fact that education plays an important role in the growth and development of a society, there is also no denying the fact that we are good at sports and we should encourage it. Sports should be encouraged alongside education and for a state with so much sporting talents it could not go wrong. However the fact remains that in today’s stiff competition, our sports players need a much accommodating environment to hone their skills and talents. We have such a vast sporting talent that our sports players are present everywhere around the country. Several of our players are playing at and representing other states in the national games and championships. DoNER Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar had recently acknowledged that if all the Manipuri players who are playing for other states are taken into account, then Manipur would be the overall medal winners in every National Games.
The Union Doner Minister and NEC Chairman, Paban Singh Ghatowar during the inaugural of a sports development seminar some days back in the state had also announced that there is a proposal from the Manipur government for the establishment of a world class football academy in the state and that the proposal is in consideration of his Ministry at the moment. While the announcement came as a pleasant surprise for the people, the state government should constantly remind the Union Ministry to realize the project and tap the vast football talents present in the state. During the same function, the state Chief Minister had also announced that the Rio Olympics in 2016 will have to be a special target. And if the Chief Minister really meant it then he need to start acting up as four years is not a very long time. The Olympics is a platform where the world’s best turn up to compete and a sportsperson needs not just talents but world class training facilities to compete there. Our players have the talents and the will to train hard what we lack is world class training facilities and encouragement. The government should realise this and put sports above petty politics or corruption and encourage our players. Our general public also need to realise that sports players need encouragement not only when they are in the ring or the arena or inside the football ground, but they need it during their training too. Every player regardless of whether they bring a medal or not should be supported, the general public and all sections of the society should uphold a player’s identity as it is part of the Manipuri identity. Our players should also understand that they are shouldering the hopes and wishes of the whole state and as such should not deviate from their goals. Our five London Olympians should also come out and share their experiences with their younger counterparts. Let’s hope and wish that our players could shine brighter at the Rio Olympics and bring India its first Yellow metal.