Shillong, Jul 10: It’s a situation likened to politics – why else are there so many Communist parties in India; there’s a CPI, CPI (M), CPI (M-L), CPI (Maoist), etc. So too in Meghalaya sports there are not one but three different kickboxing associations, each with their own office bearers and all three separately trying to promote the sport.
Why this is so stems from national level goings-on and those differences filter down to the states.
The latest schism to make its presence felt in the state is to do with karate.
For more than 40 years there has been the All Meghalaya Karate-Do Association, founded by the late great Stephan Leong. Now, the emergence of the Meghalaya State Karate-Do Federation has ruffled feathers and created some confusion among parents and karatekas.
The MSKF is affiliated to the Karate India Organisation and AMKA to the Karate Association of India. The MSKF hosted the 2nd North East Zonal Karate Championship here over the weekend.
AMKA sought to reassure parents of young karatekas that the association is continuing on with its efforts. This reassurance has been necessitated after several concerned parents expressed confusion when it emerged that a new karate body (MSKF) is hosting a tournament in the state capital.
AMKA then wrote to the state government about this and the Meghalaya State Olympic Association will soon convene its executive council to deliberate over the concerns raised.
“The executive council will soon meet to see how we can resolve this stalemate. I would also like to clarify, as per records, that AMKA is the only association affiliated and recognised by the MSOA,” John F Kharshiing, MSOA Working President, said.
According to him, this problem has cropped up due to issues concerning the national body and pending cases in court.
Kharshiing also said that they had written to the Indian Olympic Association informing them that AMKA is affiliated with the state Olympic body.
Kharshiing also said that the MSOA has nothing to do with the presence and activities of the MSKF. “We cannot recognise two bodies for the same discipline at the same time,” he added.
AMKA President Hunlang Lytan said in a press release, “The public knows that for the last 42 years AMKA has been working to promote karate in Meghalaya. In that time, we as an association have produced many national and international karatekas who have brought much honour to the state. Now another association has come out and so many parents and youngsters are confused by this.”
AMKA was officially registered in 1987 and was granted recognition by the All India Karate-Do Federation in 1988 after the enduring effort of members of the association under the leadership of Leong. In 1993 AMKA was recognised by the Meghalaya government and the State Sports Council of Meghalaya and in 1996 by the MSOA.
Karatekas under the AMKA umbrella have participated and won medals at the National Games and SAFF Games. The association’s karatekas also bagged second place for Meghalaya in the karate event at the 2nd North East Olympic Games 2022. Recently, Saralin Rynghang of AMKA was selected for trials to represent India at the Asian Games.
AMKA’s efforts start right at the grassroots, with its many branches in Meghalaya training up youngsters in the martial art form. The association also annually organises school championships and statewide championships that see sub-juniors up to seniors take part.
“Although AMKA wants to see the sport grow in Meghalaya, we are not convinced that a separate association is the way to go about it. And despite our decades worth of yeoman service, the first that AMKA was informed about this tournament was when the Directorate of Sports & Youth Affairs requested one of our centres to loan floor mats to the tournament organisers,” Lytan said.
That last line is telling as it seems incredible that a body seeking to represent Meghalaya karate would not have its own basic equipment.