Shillong, Mar 23: Just when it seemed that Meghalaya would not hold the National Games in 2022, as was originally scheduled, the Indian Olympic Association delivered a bit of a jolt by expressing its eager anticipation that the mega-event would go ahead as planned.

In a letter to the National Games 2022 Secretariat, dated 16th March, IOA President Narinder Batra and General Secretary Rajeev Mehta said that they are “pleased to know that the Meghalaya state government is proactively working towards staging the National Games in 2022.”

The Covid-19 pandemic threw a massive spanner in the works to build up the state’s infrastructure to hold the Games, which will comprise more than 30 disciplines. References to the holding of the event next year had also largely disappeared from ministerial speeches.

It looked even more likely that Meghalaya would see its chance to be host pushed back at least a year when the Goa National Games, scheduled for 2020, were postponed by the coronavirus pandemic. After Goa, Chhattisgarh and then Uttarakhand are meant to hold the Games and only after them comes Meghalaya.

“The Indian Olympic Association wish you a very successful National Games 2022. It is advised, that to put this big initiative in motion, the National Games Secretariat convene a meeting with all stakeholders to decide the dates for staging the National Games and inform us accordingly,” the letter said.

Yesterday, executive council members of the Meghalaya State Olympic Association held an “urgent” meeting with Sports & Youth Affairs Minister (and ex-officio MSOA President) Banteidor Lyngdoh to discuss the IOA’s missive.

Later, Lyngdoh expressed confidence that the required infrastructure would be ready for the national event, which, if it takes place on time, should be held in October-November next year. Construction is underway, tenders for major projects are out and any other requirements can be made up with pre-fabricated structures, he said.

Meanwhile, MSOA Working President John F Kharshiing, who was instrumental in getting Meghalaya the hosting rights, said that a meeting to discuss the preparations of the state’s teams and the subject of the IOA letter will be held in the first week of April, after Easter.

(TSR file photo of National Games 2022 Secretariat)

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