Shillong, Mar 23: Despite adding several more medals on the last day (including a few silver), Meghalaya were doomed to drop to seventh in the medals table, the state’s worst performance across three editions of the North East Games (formerly known as the North East Olympic Games).

The six-day extravaganza ended in Nagaland today with Meghalaya coming away with a total of 2 gold, 12 silver and 41 bronze medals. By overall total, Meghalaya’s 55 medals were actually the fifth-highest of the eight states but the paltry haul of 2 gold dragged Meghalaya down to just above Tripura, a state that has had disruptive administrative issues in its Olympic association.

The end result comes as a severe blow after Meghalaya were fourth in the 2022 Games that were held in Shillong. That year Meghalaya earned 36 gold, 35 silver and 78 bronze medals, narrowly missing out on third position.

It has to be pointed out that there were nowhere near as many medals on offer this year as compared to 2022. This time there were just over 600 to be won compared to 980 two years ago. Nevertheless that doesn’t explain everything as Meghalaya had still won 3 gold, 8 silver and 29 bronze to finish sixth in 2018 in Manipur when there were only 550 medals on offer. (There was no edition of the Games in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.)

Another factor is that there were quite a few changes in the types of disciplines held this year. Karate was out and that was a sport that earned Meghalaya numerous medals in 2022. Also gone were judo, shooting, swimming, cycling, golf and weightlifting. In their place were volleyball, belt wrestling, pencak silat and sepak takraw. Meghalaya didn’t win any medal in volleyball and skipped sepak takraw altogether.

The state also drew a blank in badminton and football where a few medals would have traditionally come from.

TSR rejoices with all the Meghalaya medallists. They deserve many congratulations. But as sports fans, it’s tough to see your state finish second from the bottom. We hope that the Meghalaya State Olympic Association and state government thoroughly introspect and go through all the reasons behind this underwhelming performance.

Today’s results:

It was a heartbreaking end to a fantastic run for the Meghalaya women’s basketball team (pictured), who lost their final against Sikkim today 61 to 60 in what was an epic match.

Athletics yielded two medals today, with a silver in women’s cross country for the team of Bandasharai Marwein, Ibanriakor Lyngkhoi, Claire Jones Jala Kharbhih and Barisha Khymdeit. The men’s team of Kresstarjune Pathaw, Knerlang Phawa, Iohborlang Nongspung and Dabit Dkhar took bronze in their event.

Meghalaya also won a solitary bronze medal in lawn tennis, thanks to the men’s doubles pair of Wankhraw Wahlang Nongrum and Enrick Suchiang.

There were two silver medals earned in archery as well as one bronze. The recurve women’s team took second place in their event, with the team comprising Navidisha Kapoor, Daphishisha Jamu, Damandashisha Pasi and Andrica Nongsiej. The other silver was for the recurve mixed team comprising Mukesh Tamang and Navidisha.

Mukesh also won a bronze through the recurve men’s team that also included Larilang Lyngdoh, Devraj Mohapatra and Amebalaker Wanniang.

Finally, the relatively new sport (to TSR at least) of belt wrestling also brought Meghalaya a silver via Kyrshanbor Romeo Songthiang (men’s 60kg) and two bronze through Lorenza Songthiang and Sany Khyriemmujat (both women’s 60kg).

(Photo contributed)

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