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Mon, 30 Mar 2020

Northeast Today


February 22
12:38 2020

Jnan Jyoti Deka


The 3rd edition of Khelo India Youth Games finally came to an end. The event, which aims at finding out and providing the stage to the budding athletes from all the corners of India, took place at Guwahati from 10 January 2020 to 22 January 2020. Players from 37 states and Union Territories of the country participated in 20 disciplines to showcase their potential and place their respective state/UT at the top of the medal tally.

A total numbers of 1446 medals were won by the athletes which included 447 gold, 445 silver, and 554 bronze. And since the event took place in Northeast India, let’s have a look how Northeast has fared in the event.

All the Northeastern states took part in Khelo India youth games 2020. However, only Assam could make their way to the top-10 of the medal tally, standing 7th with 20 gold, 22 silver and 32 bronze medals. While Manipur and Tripura stood 14th and 20th respectively, Arunachal Pradesh finished at 23rd, Mizoram at 24th, Sikkim at 31st and Meghalaya and Nagaland finished at 34th position collectively.

Pooja Basumatary won the first gold medal for Assam in girl’s under-17 57 kg category in the Judo event. However, the biggest find and the star for Assam was Shivangi Sarma who bagged 5 gold medals in swimming. Apart from her, Ankushita Boro too stole the show with gold in girls’ U-21 64 kg boxing.

In the group category, Assam’s lawn bowls team bagged 7 gold medals. The Assam U-21 boys’ relay team too won the gold in 4X100 metre relay. Overall, Assam had a comparatively successful campaign at Khelo India’s 2020 edition despite not being able to finish as table toppers.

The next state from Northeast on the medal tally after Assam was  Manipur  with  14 gold,  20 silver and 20 bronze-54 in total. Their top performances came in the judo event where the Manipur Judo team won 17 medals: six gold, four silver and seven bronze.

In boxing, the highlight for the state was Barun Singh who won gold in boys U-21 46-49 kg category. In weightlifting, Maibam Martina stole the show as she topped the U-17 women’s 81 kg class by recording 158 kg lift.

Tripura found themselves at the 20th position in the medal tally with 4 gold and one silver medal. The state, well-known for producing gymnasts like Dipa Karmakar, once again stole the show   in the gymnastics event as Priyanka Dasgupta picked up four golds in artistic gymnastics.

Although Tripura dominated the gymnastics arena, the state could manage only one more silver medal in the entire Khelo India 2020 edition which stopped them from being a leading state in the medal tally.

Arunachal Pradesh stood 23rd in the overall medal tally with 12 medals in total which included 3 gold, 5 silver, and 4 bronze medals. The 13-year old weightlifting sensation from the state, Golom Tinku won the state’s maiden gold in U-17 55 kg category. The other two golds too were won by the weightlifters- Markio Tario in the U-21 67 kg boys’ category and PH Roshini in the U-21 71kg girls’ category.

Mizoram secured the 24th position in the tally courtesy 3 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze medals. Judoka Chinlunmawi got a gold in the U-21 52  kg category while peddler Himnakulhpuingheta and Alberto LR Ruata won gold in table tennis doubles. The other gold was won by the state’s  U-17 football team.

The state could manage to put up shows in only a few sports like judo, table tennis, football and boxing which meant they had to accommodate in the lower half of the medal tally.

On the other hand, it was a disappointing tournament for Sikkim, Meghalaya and Nagaland. For Sikkim, the only medal came through Pemba Tshering Sherpa’s bronze in U-21 81kg men’s weightlifting. Meghalaya and Nagaland had to wrap up their campaigns as their athletes failed to stand on the podium which placed them at the bottom of the medals tally.

Apart from Assam and Manipur, the other Northeastern states had a below-par Khelo India 2020 edition. This disappointment raises many questions. Even after producing Olympians like Mary Kom, Jayanta Talukdar, Shiva Thapa, the sporting environment in the Northeastern region of the country is yet to reach a decent level. Lack of infrastructure, slow process in selecting the young talents and shortage  of  trained  coaches in the remote areas has made the task of the players to reach the coveted platform a difficult one. Moreover, the unmatched popularity and financial aid in cricket too demoralizes them in the process of following other sports.

Fortunately, things  have  improved  a  lot  in recent years. But not enough to match the standards of the states that enjoyed a podium finish in the 3rd edition of Khelo India Youth Games. If the young bloods of the region receive a conducive environment to propel themselves  in their respective games, one can surely hope to see more medal winners in the next Khelo India edition.




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