- NET Web Desk
Dr Talimeren Ao or fondly known as T Ao was the first captain of the Indian football team.
Born in Changli, Naga Hills district (present-day Nagaland), Ao is considered as an epitome of India’s football history.
With amazing skills and calm personality, Ao led the legendary squad of West Bengal Club, Mohun Bagan.
A football wizard, Ao’s name is similarly significant in the Indian Olympic history. He was the captain of Indian national football team during the 1948 Summer Olympics.
Besides, Ao was also the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent.
Being the captain of Indian football team, Ao also pursued his studies simultaneously at the Carmichael Medical College, Kolkata.
The Charmichael Medical College played a significant role towards his passion, thereby respecting the responsibilities he carried.
During such a period, when one had to choose any one path, the Charmichael Medical College’s British principal, granted him a year’s leave, and allowed Ao to fulfill his duties as India’s captain.
According to Scroll report, Arsenal offered him a football contract, which he then refused to fulfill the dying wish of his father, to serve the Naga residents.
His father expressed a dying wish of Ao becoming a doctor, who could selflessly serve his community.
To honour the wish, he returned home to rejoin his MBBS course and graduated in 1950.
Ao then bid farewell to Kolkata, and the Mohun Bagan squad.
Besides, the team also offered him a plot in the city which he refused to serve his community.
He returned back and joined the ENT department, at the Dibrugarh Medical College, Assam.
Talimeren finally returned home to Nagaland in 1953, and joined the Kohima Civil Hospital as an Assistant Civil Surgeon.
It is pertinent to mention here that Ao was among the medical ranks to retire as the Director of Health Services in Nagaland in 1978.
In 2002 the Mohun Bagan honoured him with the Mohun Bagan Ratna Award and provided him a Life Membership.
In Assam, an outdoor stadium at Kaliabor and an indoor stadium at Cotton College have been named after him.
Meanwhile, in 2009, the Union Minister for Mines and DoNER, B.K Handique, inaugurated the first Dr. T. Ao Football Trophy at the DDSC Stadium in Dimapur, Nagaland, to encourage the North-Eastern youths to excel in both sports and academics.
He passed away in September 13, 1998, aged 80 and was buried at the Naga Cemetary in Khermahal, Dimapur.