The Northeast of India may have provided numerous stars to the country from various sporting disciplines but the region needs investment in sporting infrastructure to harness the abundant talent on offer there, Abu Metha, advisor to the Nagaland Chief Minister, said at the Sportstar National Sports Conclave here on Monday.
He said the government of India and corporate entities needed to invest heavily in sports in the region.
“Northeast is unique. It has so many challenges. And every day, the situation there is very different from that of the mainland. The youth, the people there, have so many other challenges than playing sport. Everyday challenges. Insurgency has kept the youth away from mainland and from normal life for decades,” he said during a panel discussion on sport in the Northeast.
“Today, if you go to the interior parts of Nagaland, to the Indo-Myanmar border, the children there don’t know that you’re supposed to stand up when ‘Jana Gana Mana’ is played. But you know what? When Dhoni helicopters a six or when Neeraj hurls the javelin towards gold, every kid jumps from their seat. They support India. They support the tricolour. So my point is sport is where you can bring youth of the Northeast towards the mainstream, give them platform and avenue to contribute towards the process of nation building (sic) and also participate in India’s rise and growth.
“Having said that, the problem starts from infrastructure. The biggest challenge is infrastructure – physical infrastructure, infrastructure of human resources, and the lack of ecosystem, especially from smaller states. Apart from Assam, the other States are really challenged for infrastructure and ecosystem, human resource capacity. So we need the government of India to make more investment. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that the talent bank of the Northeast as far as sports is concerned needs no elaboration. And predominantly a population that is Mongoloid. Mongoloid people have great hand-eye coordination that they can apply to sports,” Metha said.
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