Shillong, Nov 2: The Meghalaya government has a target of getting a state athlete into the Olympic Games by 2032 and is going the extra mile in trying to make this dream a reality.
This was part of the message of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma in a video for the 2nd North East Olympic Games 2022, which Meghalaya will host this month.
“This is the biggest sporting event that the state has ever hosted and is a fitting event to be held during Meghalaya’s 50th year of statehood,” Sangma said while welcoming the 2,000-plus athletes who are set to descend on the state capital in the coming days.
The Games are to formally begin on 10th November and end on 16th November.
The CM is also the chief patron for the Games and highlighted the added incentives that his government has initiated for successful athletes, to reward and encourage them towards greater glory, wherein gold medallists can earn tens of thousands of rupees for state tournaments up to Rs 75 lakh for those at the Olympic level.
“Over the last four and a half years, the Meghalaya government has been carrying out wide changes to the way that sports is treated, with greater emphasis on recognising talented athletes for their accomplishments, increased budgetary allocation towards infrastructure, financial support for sports associations to conduct tournaments and send athletes for outside competitions, and systematic identification of talent,” he said.
Although the dream of a Meghalayan Olympian by 2032 is ambitious, the Chief Minister added, “it is necessary that everyone involved in sports dreams big and the government of Meghalaya is here to facilitate all sportspersons in accomplishing their goals.”
On the ground, work is at full pace to ensure that NEOG 2022, which will comprise 18 exciting disciplines, is held in a befitting manner.
Today, the Games’ co-chairman and Commissioner and Secretary, Vijay Kumar, undertook an extensive inspection (pictured) of the venues in Greater Shillong, accompanied by Secretary Cyril VD Diengdoh, Director of Sports & Youth Affairs Shivansh Awasthi and other officials.
Some venues are being extensively upgraded, such as Third Ground in Polo, where floodlights and temporary stands are being erected for the football events.
In addition, hundreds of enthusiastic young volunteers have been recruited by the Department of Sports & Youth Affairs to make the Games a success, with athlete registration, accommodation, transport and catering some of the other more behind-the-scenes, yet vital, areas that the state government and Meghalaya State Olympic Association are working on 24×7, a press release added.