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3rd North East Games 2024 kickstarts with musical extravaganza


3,000 athletes are competing for the 1400 medals in 15 disciplines to be held in 12 venues in three districts of the state

By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent

The 3rd edition of the North East Games 2024 kick-started with a spectacular opening ceremony on Monday night at the Games village, Sovima, Choumoukedima, to celebrate spirits of athleticism and sportsmanship.

Speaking in front of more than 3000 sportsmen and women and others, including advisors of various Nagaland departments, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who is also the president of Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA), said that the kind of games and sports festival bring people together and appreciated the North East Sports Association (NESA) for their large hearted in bringing the eight Northeastern states together to share a platform through sporting events.

Stating that the initiatives of the state Olympic Association were to strengthen and collectively develop, and nurture sports persons, create a platform for sports, aim to catalyze sports development, community engagements, and fostering a vibrant sporting culture, Rio articulated that the North East Games is a showcase of “sportsmanship and camaraderie” of the Northeastern region with a vison to inspire the unity amongst people of the region.

He said Nagaland is proud of its neighbours and reminded that though Nagaland is the senior most state in the region after Assam, and in its 61st year of statehood, however, Rio said that because of its own problems—political movement and unresolved issues, which have impacted the lives of the people particularly the youth, in sports, arts, and music.

He also informed that the Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA) was formed way back in the 1980’s but due to pre-occupation with its problems, NOA could not be affiliated with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and only after 40 years, the NOA got affiliated to the IOA and after which the state made its first appearance in the National Games which was held in Assam.

Hence then, Rio said after which the talented vibrant Naga youths like any other sportsmen and women from the region started winning medals and he hoped that they would continue to help one another and bring the northeast together to be a “sports power house” of the country.

He also said that Northeast is blessed with talented people. It has oil and natural gas and huge mineral deposits. It also has bountiful forests and biodiversity and huge hydro potentials and though the region has rich culture, and picturesque landscape. It has many problems, including connectivity, he added. Under the dynamic leadership of prime minister, Narendra Modi, who is supporting the Northeast in infrastructure and connectivity, and in promoting sports, the youth of today and the leaders would wake up to bring that dream into reality, he said.

Rio later declared the game open.

In his introductory remark and welcome address, working president of NESA, and VP, Athletic Federation of India (AFI), Abu Metha said that more than 3,000 athletes are participating for the 1400 medals in 15 disciplines to be held in 12 venues in three districts of the state.

Stating that the sporting event is the biggest meet and gatherings of young minds from across the eight northeastern states, Abu said this event highlights and exemplifies the energy, vibrancy and ambition of the young people from the northeastern states.

He said sports has always been a way of life for the people of the northeastern region since time immemorial and added that Meitei brothers rode on horseback across South East Asia and South Asia, people from Meghalaya practiced archery the time of their fore parents, in Nagaland and Mizoram, the people wrestled at every event, so sports have been a part of their lives since the earliest times.

Terming that today, the Northeast region is acknowledged as the “sports bank” of the country, Abu Metha also substantiated that Northeast region is the “power house” for India in sports producing the likes of Baichung Bhutia, Lovelina B, Hima Das, Meerabai Chanu, Dingko Singh, Lalsingsuangi, and Chokhrovulo Swuro.

“Our sportspersons have brought many glories and pride not only to the region but they have done the country proud”, said Metha and urged the sportsmen and women gathered to continue to follow the legacy in making the country proud so that the youth from the northeast would make India rise.

Elucidating that despite having differences and misunderstanding, through the North East Games it aspires to bring the Northeast people together by celebrating the spirit of unity of the Northeast through sports.

He also mentioned that the sporting events are not just about celebrating sports or pursuing excellence but each of the participants present is an ambassador of unity, a warrior for justice, a contributor to oneness for these sporting event will unite the northeast as players from Manipur and Nagaland will “hug”, players from Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura will share “hi-five” and the players from Mizoram and Meghalaya will “shout and jump”.

Later, Abu extended his appreciation to the President of India, the Prime Minister, the Union Sports Minister, IOA president for sending messages of support and solidarity towards the successful conduct of the 3rd North East Games 2024.

NESA Secretary general and president of Meghalaya Olympic Association (MOA) John F Kharsing also spoke at the programme.

The 3rd North East Games 2024 will culminate on March 23 with a closing ceremony to be held at the game village, Sovima, Choumuoukedima.

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