The state had five athletes in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics — Mary Kom, S Mirabai Chanu, Shushila Likmabam, Nilakanta Sharma, and P Shushila Chanu.
Hockey Olympians Sh Nilakanta Sharma and P Shushila Chanu on Wednesday received a rousing reception at the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport, Imphal who many well-wishers and leaders, including Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam, had gathered to welcome them.
While Nilakanta was part of the men’s hockey team that won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Shushila’s women’s team finished fourth.
A reception ceremony was organised at Kontha Ahallup, Imphal East by local clubs near the residence of bronze medalist Nilakanta Sharma.
Appreciating and expressing happiness at the support given by the people, Nilakanta exhorted young and budding players to not lose sight of their goal. If you play with determination, one day you will achieve what you dreamt of, he added.
During the function, CM Biren said that the state cabinet had created 18 posts reserved for Olympians of the state in the Youth Affairs & Sports Department, Government of Manipur.
The chief minister further informed that the created posts included 10 posts of assistant director for participants, five posts of deputy director for medal winners and three posts of joint director for gold medal winners at Olympic Games. He also stated that a grand reception ceremony of the state’s athletes, who participated in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, would be organised at the City Convention Centre this month and added that the respective cash rewards and job appointment orders for the remaining Olympians would be handed over to them on the occasion.
Biren maintained that the state government has sincere commitment towards developing the field of games and sports as it takes a major role in instilling good discipline and manners among the youths. As the government is putting in much effort to end the drug menace from the state, it is imperative to encourage the youths, make them feel interested in games and sports and divert their minds from getting addicted to intoxicating substances, he added, according to official sources.
Expressing proud feelings on the heroic performances and achievements of the state’s athletes in the recent Tokyo Olympics, he stated that the young and talented Olympians would be a source of inspiration and motivation among the youths of the state. He expressed hope that the expertise of the Olympians would be an important input in training the younger generations.
On the other hand, a reception ceremony was also organised by Thangmeiband Youth Club, Thangmeiband Hijam Dewan Leikai at the residence of Shushila Chanu. She expressed happiness at the reception being accorded by the people on her arrival to the state. CM Biren also lauded the performance of Shushila during the Tokyo Olympics.
Biren, forest minister Awangbow Newmai, education minister Sorokhaibam Rajen and Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam amongst others, also attended the reception ceremonies.