Shillong, Oct 13: It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows sports in Meghalaya that the state failed to win a single medal at the National Games 2022, which concluded in Gujarat yesterday.

In this, we were only in the company of Nagaland and the Union territories of Ladakh, Lakshadweep and Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu.

North East sporting giants Manipur finished ninth (quite a low position for them, such are their strengths) with 50 medals in all (20 gold, 10 silver, 20 bronze). Assam were 14th with 28 medals (9G, 10S, 9B) and Arunachal Pradesh 16th with 7 (6G, 1S). Tripura, in 25th position, managed 2 gold and a bronze, Mizoram (joint 28th) 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze and even Sikkim (32nd) picked up a bronze to at least come away with something.

TSR won’t blame the athletes – we’re sure they gave it all that they could.

But there has to be something wrong somewhere. One coach, employed by the state government, reached out to TSR as we were writing this to say that, in his sport, Meghalaya has no grassroots infrastructure and even Shillong is lacking facilities. In such a situation, promising to reward athletes who make it at the Olympic, Commonwealth or Asian Games with lakhs of rupees, as the Sports Policy does, is a little redundant.

Meghalaya only sent 12 athletes (who were outnumbered by the state’s officials) anyway to the country’s biggest multi-disciplinary event and yet we are aiming to host one of the forthcoming editions of the National Games. (It was actually supposed to be held here this year, remember?)

Curiously, we didn’t send a football team, which struck TSR as rather odd as that sport could have been our biggest hope for a medal. What happened, so we heard, is that the state’s women’s team were not ranked high enough to qualify – there were only eight men’s and eight women’s slots after all.

The men’s side, however, were ranked high enough but were on the lowest rung and, therefore, were shoved off to make way for hosts Gujarat. Life ain’t fair.

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