Shillong, Feb 16: Athletes have been pouring into Shillong from all over the state full of excitement for the Meghalaya Games 2019-20 as preparations are on track for the first state-wide Games in over 10 years.

Ri-Bhoi’s Joytiful Narlong, who won gold medals in the 100m and long jump events at last year’s state-level school athletics championship and was named U-14 girls Best Athlete, said, modestly, that she will try to replicate those successes at the Meghalaya Games. Her team mate in the boys’ events, Pyndap Makri, added that he hopes his district will be able to do as well as they did in the school athletics championship, where they finished as overall champions.

“I also hope that we will have a Meghalaya Games every year from now on,” Makri said.

Those looking to beat Ri-Bhoi include athletes from West Jaintia Hills, like Ribet Dkhar and Dabit Dkhar, who said, “We are confident but we still have to give our very best.”

There are a lot more events than athletics at the Meghalaya Games, however, and 15-year-old Azelia A Sangma, who has travelled with her team mates from Tura, is keen to give her best in taekwondo, saying, “I’m excited to be here and will give my best.”

Meanwhile, All Meghalaya Karate-Do Association General Secretary Ksan Kupar Warjri, said that this is a great platform for young karatekas in the state and he hopes to see future stars emerge from the Games, like two of the most successful karatekas to emerge out of the state – Linza Fenny Syiem and Damang Syngkon.

As far as preparations go, everything is on track in terms of the organisation and readiness of the athletes. But to make the Games a lasting success, the Meghalaya State Olympic Association is keen to see all stakeholders come out and support the athletes.

“I would like to impress upon the young people and general public of our state to come and support this event. Everyone is a stakeholder in the Meghalaya Games,” MSOA Vice-President Ian Lyngdoh said today. “This sporting event has been initiated after a gap of many years and we are hoping that it will give a big boost to the promotion of sports and fitness culture.”

He also stated that the athletes that take part in these Games will be the ones who will represent Meghalaya in the years to come.

“These are the athletes who will represent us in the National Games in 2022 here in Meghalaya and we will earn the rewards in terms of medals by investing in them now,” he said.

Eight of the 14 disciplines will begin tomorrow Рarchery, basketball, boxing, billiards & snooker, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis and wushu. The opening ceremony will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium from 11AM. The chief guest will be the Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma and the guest of honour will be the Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh. Entry will be free and all are welcome.

(Meghalaya State Olympic Association photo)

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