IMPHAL, August 12: “I have been a world champion twice, and have bagged most other trophies; however, I would like to play even if for once in the Olympics,” said an emotive Laishram Sarita during a felicitation programme today.
All 14 sportspersons along with four officials from the State who represented the country in the recently concluded Glasgow Commonwealth Games were felicitated today at the Khuman Lampak, Indoor Stadium today.
The government has also announced cash incentives of Rs 15 lakh for Gold medallist, Rs 10 lakh for the Silver medallists, Rs 8 lakh for Bronze medallist and Rs 2 lakh for other participants including the officials.
Today’s function was jointly organized by the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, government of Manipur and Manipur Olympic Association.
Governor VK Duggal attended the function as the chief guest, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh as the president while minister I Hemochandra Singh and parliamentary secretary M Prithiviraj Singh attended as guests of honour
Only seven players and one official could participate in today’s State organised felicitation programme as the others are already in preparatory camps for the forthcoming Asian Games.
The players who attended the function include Gold medallist in 48 kg women’s weight lifting Kh Sanjita Chanu daughter of Kh Lukhoi Meitei of Kakching Khunou, Umathel Awang Leikai, Silver medallist in the 48 kg Women’s weight lifting Saikhom Mirabai Chanu daughter of S Kirti meetei of Nongpok Kakching Lai Maning, Silver medallist in 49 kg in boxing Laishram Devendro Singh, son of L Jugindro Singh of Yurembam Awang Leikai.
Silver medallist in women 57-60 kg boxing Laishram Sarita Devi, daughter of (L) L Babuchand Singh of Thoubal Khunou; Silver medallist in hockey Kh Kothajit Singh, son of Kh Dhananjoy Singh of Lairikyengbam Leikai; Silver medallist in hockey K Chinglensana Singh, son of K Janeshwor Singh of Bashikhong; participated in swimming (diving) Ramananda Rajbihari Sharma, son of K Rajbihari Sharma of Chingmeirong Awang Leikai and manager Indian gymnastic team Dr Sanasam Santikumar Singh, son of (L) S Tombi Singh of Chingamakha Yanglem Leikai also attended the function.
Sarita who has brought home the Silver medal in the 57-60kg women boxing urged the people to pray for her and to keep on supporting her so that she can reach the Olympics.
She further appealed to the State Chief Minister to upgrade the equipment installed at the Khuman Lampak sports complex stating that the present lot of equipment were all outdated.
She said it has been the same since 2001.
Speaking of her loss in the final bout of the CWG, Sarita said she had sprained her wrist during a test bout after her trials for the game.
She said she had failed to qualify for the Olympic Games, she had a son and had been absent from any tournament for around two years.
Sarita said she was even afraid before the trials of the CWG that she would not be able to make the cut.
However, with support and care from her husband she managed to make it to the CWG, she said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said “Acknowledging the contribution made by sportspersons of Manipur, the Government of India has awarded a sum of Rs 100.00 crore for upgradation of Khuman Lampak Sports Complex, under the 13th Finance Commission and the upgradation and construction works are in full swing.”
“The department is also planning to replace the outdated and old sports equipment by procuring International standard equipment worth Rs 6 crore,” he said.
He also asserted that the Centre will be soon starting a Sports University in the State for which an allocation of Rs 100 crores has already been made in the current financial year as announced in the Union budget.
The Chief Minister also said that the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan is also being implemented in the State to promote sports at the grass-root level.
He said the scheme provides setting up of Block-Level Sports Complex in all Block Headquarters with facilities for Outdoor playfield etc. and Indoor Hall for Boxing, Wrestling, Weightlifting, Table Tennis etc.
Speaking at the function, Governor VK Duggal congratulated the players.
He specially congratulated the medal winners who have not only brought laurels to Manipur but also made the entire country proud with their fantastic achievements.
Encouraging the club culture in the State for promotion of sports, the Governor said the club culture, like in other sports developed countries has helped in the growth of sports here.
“We should try to strengthen the movement even further so that our contribution and achievement in the field of games and sports in second to none.”
“All athletes and sports lovers will know that Asiad in some respects is going to offer even a bigger challenge and the competition is going to be tougher. I have at the same time no doubt that our athletes will excel there also through their hard work, dedication and most importantly the desire to win,” he said.
The Governor also elaborated on the need to have more openness and bring in the best governance model so that the sports persons feel that the State is there for them.
“The recent initiatives for a sports code laid down by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is an effort in the right direction and I feel that all will adopt it in the spirit it was framed,” he said before adding that it will go a long way in bringing sports administration up to the mark in the 21 st century.
Later in the evening, the Governor met with the players at the Raj Bhavan.