TODAY -

Ensuring Manipuri medals in Tokyo Olympics

Free Thinker *



Perhaps everyone in this part of the world feels frustrated while looking at the medals tally of the on-going Rio Olympics. We canít simply ignore it because the projection comes every day in almost all the dailies and channels. Probably we are more irritated because our affinity to games and sports are much closer than anyone else. The soul of a sportsman is within us. Believe me or not we were all warriors, so a sense of cut-throat competition and fighting spirit is there in our genes.

Historians may agree with me that the Manipuri marshal culture can be traced back to our age old tradition of battle-readiness and intermittent warfare for hegemony in the early stages of State formation and later on for consolidation and expansion. Battles involve courage, agility, swiftness, strength and perseverance. These inherent ingredients of war are already in our blood. With this added advantage we compete with the world and quite often we could do well.

Based on our familiarity and fondness we can do exceedingly well in the sports relating to archery (guns too), swords (fencing), horses (big horses must be provided as our pony is not globally compatible), spear (javelin), boxing, football etc.

Meanwhile the Sports University must come up at the earliest and infrastructure for our athletes must be put in place in no time. If we provide proper facilities and infrastructure, our boys and girls will bring more laurels from global events. Let us do some serious business. Let us start a sports talent hunt program in the State through the local clubs and start giving training to them for Tokyo.

Some national leaders called ĎManipurí a power-house of sports. They are right. We have produced many great sports personalities in the last 4/5 decades. Our tiny state has been dominating the National games for quite some time now; it is not a mean achievement. What we require today is to concentrate more on international events like the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and of course the Olympics. We need to be more focused now.

It happens every time that the contingent for 100 sports persons is accompanied by another 100 officials. I donít know whether we can reduce the number of officials and extra-officials. I am not saying that let us save money. What I am trying to say is that the presence of more officials and extra-ordinary officials may distract the attention and concentration of our sportspersons. I donít understand the utility of ministers, secretaries and fake doctors during such games.

How much money we are investing in sports, it is just a drop of salt in the ocean. We made an annual allocation of 50 crores of rupees. In the United States the annual investment in sports and culture is about 12 billion dollars. And at the same time China invests nearly 50 billion yuan every year.

Keeping in view the amount of money we invest in the field of sports our performance is not so bad. Through an unofficial channel I heard one unreliable story about the Indian football team ; in the early 50ís India could qualify for the FIFA World Cup; they could not go for the finals as the players could not arrange their boots in time.

China has more than 6 lac sports facilities with nearly 4 lac qualified sports instructors. In addition they have a large number of part-time trainers at the grass root levels. In India we hardly have a hundred sports academies. If we want to become a world power we also must become a sports power. It is high time to act accordingly.

It is very allergic that we have a tendency to compare ourselves with Pakistan. For everything one will say we are much better than Pakistan and others will follow suit. Even our news anchors, they also become Pakistan centric; Pakistani friends are so happy joining the discussion in news-hour because have nothing to loss.

Our economy is much better than Pakistan economy; our education is much better than that of Pakistan, our army are more sophisticated , we have more number of nuclear weapons than Pakistan( for nuclear weapons I have some doubts now ). This time also people will say our performance is much better than Pakistan. I donít know why we are so obsessed with Pakistan.

If we keep competing with Pakistan we will never grow. Why canít we compete with China or the USA? If we want to emerge as a super-power we need to compete with the existing super-powers.

Somebody said, our sports are devastated by the bureaucratic bungling, official apathy and political nepotism. I donít agree with this view 100%. The present fate of our sports is because of lack of priority and incentive. Our talents (sports) are in remote villages; they should be brought to the sports- academies in the cities.

Who will bring them? The local tribal chiefs and Panchayat leaders must bring those talented young boys and girls who are national record breakers. They should be properly rewarded and compensated for bringing such talented youths to the academies. The brochure comprising national records must be printed in local languages and distribute to all and sundry.

During Christmas-New-year time or Gangngai or Yaosang our local clubs may be encouraged to organize sports competition in order to tap local talents at the grass-root level. For this, the local clubs must be encouraged with funds and assistance from the government. Political leaders and MLAs may also extend all kinds of support.

Again in the academies we need to have world-class trainers and infrastructure. Rupees 50 Crore a year is too meagre to bring medals from Olympics. If our priorities are different lets stop participating in international sports events. Otherwise let us give importance to sports too because it involves national pride and prestige. Be generous towards sports and also pay full attention to Sports- power- houses like ĎManipurí and just see the result in Tokyo 2020.

By winning a bronze in the Olympics you become an MP and by winning a silver you are made a Union Minister. If you win a gold in Tokyo Olympics, you may become a Governor or CM or Dy PM (for PM no vacancy). So, work hard the stakes are very high.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on August 26 2016.


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