Shillong, Aug 29: As part of the development of the JN Sports Complex in Polo, a new indoor stadium built to international standard is on the cards, Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh said here today.
Lyngdoh was speaking during the Meghalaya Sports Achievement Awards function at the Secretariat.
“National Games (scheduled to be held in 2022) will come and go but new infrastructure has to be used beyond that. We have an existing indoor stadium (at the JN Sports Complex) but we need one of international standard for various competitions,” the minister said.
The government is also planning on other upgrades to the Polo complex as well as a Rs 125 crore stadium in Tura.
“The government wants Meghalayans in all sporting disciplines to succeed. There is more than just football, but, of course, football is a sport played all over the state, in cities and villages and by the rich and poor,” Lyngdoh, a former footballer himself, said.
There were no athletes from Garo Hills in the list of awardees today and the region is usually a fair distance behind from Khasi-Jaintia Hills when it comes to sports, but the government is keen to lift standards there.
“We want to see Garo Hills improve and they will need more support. They have the eagerness, the potential and the physicality but not the results,” Lyngdoh said.
The government has also recently taken the decision to support football clubs that participate in national league competitions, such as the Second Division League, I-League and Indian Super League.
Meghalaya has had three clubs in the I-League come and go – Shillong Lajong, Rangdajied United and Royal Wahingdoh. These three and Langsning had all taken part in the Second Division as well.
“The government will financially support teams that take part in the I-League, Second Division and ISL. We have had three I-League clubs. But where are Lajong, Rangdajied, Wahingdoh now? They cannot stand on their own,” the minister said. “The Chief Minister and cabinet accepted the Directorate’s proposal to help such clubs and we also need to think about how to go about helping local football leagues, like the Shillong Premier League and Tura league.”