2021 saw a big return to local sport in Meghalaya, despite the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and here we take a look at the most-read stories on the TSR website from the year gone by.

10) This year was certainly an improvement on 2020, which saw widespread disruption to sport due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although there was a months-long interruption due to the second wave, there was plenty of activity on either side.

At the start of the year, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, inaugurated the new synthetic athletic track and artificial football ground at the Sports Authority of India Training Centre on the NEHU campus.

He also formally opened the new girls’ hostel. Rijiju then launched the new avatar of the Assam Rifles Public School in Laitkor, which has been converted into a dedicated sports school under the Khelo India scheme.

9) Despite the challenges, we had a local football season this year, with league and knockout tournaments around the state taking place.

So far in Shillong, we have only had the Fourth and Third Divisions but the Second, First and Shillong Premier League are scheduled to take place in 2022.

8) Ryntih made plenty of headlines this year by attempting to qualify for the I-League.

Their intensive preparations including signing up Khlain Syiemlieh as coach and signed up a bunch of players but failed to get through the group stage.

7) There was terrific news for a worthy kickboxer, Hameshaniah Suiam, after he was honoured with the U Kiang Nangbah Award for sports by the Meghalaya government.

The sport of kickboxing and kickboxers often receive little support from the government as the discipline isn’t an Olympic one. Thankfully that didn’t stop Suiam getting the recognition he deserved.

6) There was a bit of a controversy in November when the Khasi Students Union effectively demanded 100% reservation for Khasi and Garo athletes in all sports teams representing Meghalaya.

The KSU had the Meghalaya Cricket Association firmly in its sights when it made its divisive demand. While the union had its supporters, Bhogtoram Mawroh penned a fitting contrarian reply a few days later.

5) Young footballers from Meghalaya were in the news quite a bit in 2021.

Indian Arrows and junior national team defender Halen Nongtdu, Chesterpaul Lyngdoh, Ricky Shabong, Aenam Jyrwa and Batskhem Thangkhiew and Damaitphang Lyngdoh, all made waves on the pitch.

4) Star international footballer Eugeneson Lyngdoh went through a terrible year, with the loss of his father, the MLA Syntar Klas Sunn.

Lyngdoh was then proposed to succeed his father in the Assembly and he won the resulting by-election and then followed his father as President of the Shillong Sports Association.

3) Cricket had a big year, with Meghalaya pulling off some terrific results on the domestic circuit.

In February, Meghalaya were staring at disaster in their Vijay Hazare Trophy one day match against Mizoram in Chennai until Dippu Sangma and Abhay Negi came to the rescue and helped Meghalaya pull off a sensational two-wicket win with two overs to spare.

The month before, guest professional Punit Bisht struck the second-highest score in the history of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Chennai as Meghalaya obliterated Mizoram by 130 runs in their second match of the domestic T20 tournament.

2) Outside of club football, Meghalaya returned to state-level football with the zonal qualifiers of the senior men’s National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy.

Hosting Group A, Meghalaya started with a comprehensive 6-1 thrashing of Assam before beating Arunachal Pradesh 2-0 to qualify for the final round.

1) The most read story of 2021 on the TSR website was about a young cricketer, Himan Phukan.

After impressing scouts in the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament, the Meghalaya leg spinner was selected by Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians for trials.

Phukan played in two matches and bowled seven overs and took one wicket while conceding less than six runs an over.

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