Shillong, Apr 29: Preparations are in the last stages for the start of the 4th Meghalaya Games 2022, organised by the Meghalaya State Olympic Association and Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs, with staff, volunteers and athletes gearing up for the big event.
An exhaustive meeting of all the participating sports associations was held with the MSOA here yesterday. The nerve centre of the Games in Polo has been abuzz with activity over the last few days in order to get everything ready for the start next week.
The formal launch of the mega-event will be at 10AM on 3rd May at First Ground, Polo, Shillong where Chief Minister Conrad Sangma will be the chief guest. Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh, who is also the ex-officio President of the MSOA, will be the guest of honour.
A few events will start on 2nd May for logistical reasons but the grand opening will be on the following day. Entry will be free for all events and the public are encouraged to come and support their athletes.
“Associations and athletes are tremendously excited for the start of the Games,” MSOA Working President John F Kharshiing said today. “One of the positive outcomes of having the Meghalaya Games as a consistent programme as the government of Meghalaya has committed to is that it is creating great interest at the district level.”
MSOA General Secretary Finely Pariat added that this has “ignited the state associations and created a buzz.”
The closing ceremony will be held at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Indoor Stadium on 6th May. All the 2,600-plus athletes will then disperse by the next day. As of today, 2,069 have been registered on the MSOA’s online portal, with more expected in the coming days.
With the tremendous success of the third edition of the Games in February 2020, this year’s event will be an order of magnitude several times greater than the last.
Not only will there be an increase of 1,000 athletes, the number of disciplines will get a boost to 19 from 14, giving greater scope for sports-loving youths as participants and spectators.
“It is quite a challenge to go from 14 to 19 disciplines but keep in mind that for the 39th National Games we will have to host 36, so we are only just over the halfway mark,” Kharshiing said, adding that the MSOA is studying the possibility of taking the Meghalaya Games outside Shillong, such as to Garo Hills.
All 14 disciplines from 2020 will be making an appearance again – archery, athletics, karate, table tennis, badminton, basketball, billiards and snooker, tennis, boxing, judo, taekwondo, shooting, swimming and wushu.
Now there will be an additional five exciting sports – football, gymnastics, weightlifting, golf and cycling.
Athletes will be arriving from the weekend, though most will reach Shillong on Monday. The MSOA is expecting a high level of competition, with sporting spirit just as important as winning medals.
(Meghalaya State Olympic Association file photo)