Shillong, May 6: The 4th Meghalaya Games 2022 concluded here today with a closing ceremony bringing to an official end five days of action spread across 19 disciplines, 13 venues and involving 3,000 participants.

The Games were closed by Chief Secretary Rebecca V Suchiang in the presence of the Director of Sports and Youth Affairs Wanri Booth, Meghalaya State Olympic Association Working President John F Kharshiing, General Secretary Finely Pariat, other MSOA senior members and representatives of sports associations and the stars of the event – the athletes.

The mega event had its opening ceremony at Polo Ground on Tuesday, though for logistical reasons some events began on Monday. Events were dotted in around the city, with Laban Indoor Stadium, Shillong Club, Madanrting Indoor Hall, Assam Regimental Centre, NEHU, Mawlai Mawroh Community Hall, Mawlai Madan Heh, Crinoline Swimming Pool, Malki Forest, Shillong Golf Course, NEIGRIHMS and the Sports Authority of India Centre all playing host to one or more disciplines.

Some 700-plus medals were distributed to those participating in the various individual and team events.

The closing ceremony was held at the SAI Indoor Training Hall, which has acted as the hub of this edition of the Games.

The Chief Secretary said that she “loved the enthusiasm” of the young athletes present at the indoor hall.

“Each and every participant is a champion,” Suchiang said. “You are the vision of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and he wants to nurture sportspersons and how this starts is in our own homes. It is time we as parents encourage our children in sports. In India half of all elementary schools don’t have playgrounds. That’s why the Chief Minister is ensuring infrastructure is coming up across the state and you will all have facilities at your doorstep.”

She concluded by congratulating the MSOA, Chief Minister, Sports & Youth Affairs Minister and the Directorate, volunteers and athletes for making this grand event possible.

Suchiang also handed over the prizes for the overall winners in the athletics events – these went to Shillong Sports Association (for East Khasi Hills) in the male category and Nongstoin District Sports Association (for West Khasi Hills) in the women’s (pictured). West Jaintia Hills and Ri-Bhoi were the runners-up in men’s and women’s respectively.

Earlier, Kharshiing reminded the audience that this is the biggest and most ambitious edition of the Meghalaya Games, which started with just nine disciplines in 2001 and 12 in 2004 and then was not held for 16 years – until 2020 – when the state government decided to revive the statewide event. The Games grew to 14 disciplines in 2020 and now 19, with many more sports associations wanting to be included next year, such as has been the success of the competition.

The Working President also spoke positively about Meghalaya’s Sports Policy and the National Education Policy and their potential for the growth of sports and athletes in the state.

A gymnastics demonstration followed. Gymnastics was one of the new sports introduced to this edition of the Meghalaya Games. The seven girls wowed the assembly of other athletes, dignitaries, media and invited guests with their floor exercise routines.

A letter of praise from the Indian Olympic Association President, Narinder D Batra, was read out at the close, in which he praised the efforts of the MSOA, thanked the state government for pledging to support the event every year and said that this will help Meghalaya prepare to host the 39th National Games.

At the opening ceremony the Chief Minister announced that next year’s edition will take place in Tura, with the 2024 event to be held in Jowai, which the authorities hope will be a further boost the promotion of sport, help the athletes improve and grow and further foster cross-cultural understanding.

(Meghalaya State Olympic Association photo)

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